Republican Karen Handel Wins Georgia Special Election - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Republican Karen Handel Wins Georgia Special Election

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Update: Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia special election, avoiding major upset in most expensive House race in US history.

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The most expensive House race in U.S. history heads to voters Tuesday in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

Either Republican Karen Handel will claim a seat that's been in her party's hands since 1979 or Democrat Jon Ossoff will manage an upset that will rattle Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The results will be seen as a measure of how voters feel about Republican leadership months into the Trump presidency. Trump barely won this well-educated, affluent district in November, despite previous Republican nominees here eclipsing 60 percent. Perdue defended Trump as "a true populist," but acknowledged that even "some Republicans" are "turned off" by the president.

Health Secretary Tom Price, whose resignation to join Trump's Cabinet prompted this special election, urged voters to have a "crazy turnout" on Handel's behalf. He reminded his former constituents of the district's GOP pedigree, electing eventual Speaker Newt Gingrich and future U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson before sending Price to Washington for 12 years.

Ossoff and Handel insist their matchup is not about or the dynamics on Capitol Hill. But Perdue flatly disputed them, calling the election "a harbinger of national politics" as Handel looked on.

Democrats and liberal activists nationally hope to show they can flip the 24 GOP-held seats they would need to reclaim a House majority next November. They argue Ossoff's near-win in the first round already bodes well for Democrats running in other suburban districts where Republicans don't start with such a fundamental advantage.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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