When Democrat Jon Ossoff went into Tuesday night’s special election to fill the seat left by Rep. Tom Price’s departure to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, he felt pretty confident.
He’d been anointed a “Trump-slayer” by the media. According to Fox News, he spent $8.3 million on the race — a fortune for a House seat. He had the support of many of the Hollywood elite, including Samuel L. Jackson, George Takei, and Chelsea Handler, among others.
So, what happened? Instead of an outright win in the Tuesday election — which would have been over 50 percent in a field that had over a dozen candidates, most of them Republicans — Ossoff fell short and was forced into a June runoff, where even FiveThirtyEight acknowledged his chances against Republican Karen Handel were 50-50 at best.
And yet, the media tried to spin this as a win for Ossoff.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer had had enough with that sort of talk, and during his Wednesday news conference, he tore down an NBC reporter who insinuated that the race was a blow for the Trump administration.
“I thought that some of the coverage was a little intriguing as I watched it,” Spicer said.
“The Democrats went all in on this race. They spent over $8.3 million. They said on the record that their goal was to win this race. They lost.
“And the reaction has somewhat been, you know, that they almost won,” he continued. “No. They lost. They made very clear what their goal was in this race. They spent $8.3 million and threw everything including the kitchen sink at it and lost.”
Spicer is right. The media has been reporting that the Georgia district is a “safe Republican” seat, and Ossoff’s performance is a success no matter what.
However, the vote has shifted in the district in recent years, to the point where Trump only beat Hillary Clinton there by two points. Price’s continued electoral success likely had more to do with the fact that he was a well-known incumbent that Democrats wouldn’t have bothered spending any resources opposing.
Instead, Democrats spent $8.3 million and a lot of political capital to try to get Ossoff elected. That still failed, and now he has to face a June runoff in which, unlike before, the GOP will be united behind one candidate.
Some win that was.
H/T PJ Media