A victory for Donald Trump and Brian Mast in Georgia

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, campaigned last month for Karen Handel in a high-stakes special House race in Georgia. (from the Twitter account of Karen Handel)

President Donald Trump is gloating on Twitter — and why not?

A special Georgia congressional election billed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency was won by Republican Karen Handel by nearly 3 points in a suburban Atlanta district over Democrat Jon Ossoff.

It was the most expensive House race in American history — far surpassing the $29.6 million spent by candidates and outside groups for the 2012 Palm Beach-Treasure Coast race in which Democrat Patrick Murphy unseated Republican Rep. Allen West.

» RELATED: Karen Handel cracks GOP’s glass ceiling with win

Trump celebrated on Twitter on Tuesday night.

“Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0,” the president declared.

Republicans have won four special House elections since Trump took office — Handel’s victory and a South Carolina race Tuesday; a Montana victory last month and one in Kansas in April. Democrats retained a heavily Democratic seat in a June 6 California race between two Democrats.

Trump invested significant political capital in the Georgia race — appearing at a fundraiser for Handel in April and tweeting his support Tuesday morning. The 6th District seat has been solidly Republican, but Democrat Ossoff got 48 percent in a crowded April 18 election to nearly win the seat outright and fuel Democratic optimism about repudiating Trump. Because Ossoff didn’t get a majority, he and second-place finisher Handel faced each other in Tuesday’s runoff.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, also had some prestige riding on the race. Mast campaigned for Handel last month.

Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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