June 21, 2017

Ossoff’s Loss Is A Devastating Result For Democrats

Karen Handel’s big win last night in the Georgia-6 special election is the most demoralizing result yet in a year full of them for Democrats. Democrats threw everything they had behind Jon Ossoff, yet in the end voters rejected Nancy Pelosi’s candidate. In a humiliating turn of events, Ossoff had an overwhelming spending advantage in the runoff and improved his percentage by just .01.

The true magnitude of the Democrats’ loss is captured by how much they spent to try and win this race. The Georgia-6 special election broke House spending records in large part because of the national money that flowed into Ossoff’s campaign:

  • Ossoff’s campaign spent $23 million, while outside Democratic groups, led by the DCCC, spent another $8 million on the race.
  • This spending translated to a big Democratic advantage on the airwaves, with Democrats airing twice as many ads as Republicans since April. Additionally, since the primary, Ossoff’s campaign had “an estimated 64 percent to 36 percent share of voice advantage for the runoff.”
  • The DNC hired hire ten field organizers to help Ossoff, while Planned Parenthood Action Fund had forty canvassers knocking on doors.

This huge disparity was a major reason that many in the media said Georgia-6 was a must-win for Democrats. In their analysis, many reporters noted that an Ossoff loss would have grave and demoralizing consequences for Democrats’ efforts going into the midterm elections

  • CNN’s Eric Bradner said that a loss “would deliver a sharp blow to Democrats.”
  • NPR’s Johnny Kauffman called the race “a near must-win for Democrats” because they need to “keep their base motivated and show they can put points on the board.”
  • Earlier this week Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti wrote that “a loss in Georgia’s special election here could leave the party demoralized, with little to show for all the furious organizing, fundraising and spending in a handful of congressional special elections.”
  • MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki said that “for Democrats, they need psychologically to put a win on the board.”

While DC Democrats will attempt to spin their loss away, this data and commentary shows how devastating last night was. Ossoff had every advantage going for him and still lost. It turns out voters don’t like resume liar who would be a puppet of Nancy Pelosi.