(Rich Galen, Mullings) – The eyes of the body politic, this week, were focused on a special election for the vacant Congressional seat in the sixth district of Georgia.
That same body, still desperate to prove itself in the wake of its tripping, slipping, and flipping over the results of the Presidential election last November, is investing almost mystical importance to elections to fill Congressional vacancies.
Last week, the Republicans held onto a Kansas seat left vacant when Rep. Mike Pompeo became CIA director. GOP State Treasurer Ron Estes beat Democrat attorney James Thompson 63,505 (52.5%) to 55,310 (45.7%).
Democrats were hoping for an upset in this strongly Republican district and when they lost, made the point that Estes won by only about six percentage points while Trump had carried it by 27 points. Thus, this was labeled as a loss for Republicans. A moral win for Democrats.
Nevertheless, the people of Kansas 04 will continue to be represented by a Member of Congress sitting on the GOP side of the aisle.
President Donald Trump weighed in with tweets and automated (robo) calls in support of Estes and so gets some of the credit for the win.
A second special election was held this week in Georgia to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Rep. Tom Price to be HHS Secretary.
Not only did Jon not have an “h” in his name like regular people in Georgia do, but he didn’t even live in the sixth district of Georgia.
Why? He’s living with his girlfriend who is in medical school in a house near, but not in.
The Constitution only requires candidate for the U.S. House to live in the state, but voters sometimes take a different view.
In what was called a “jungle primary” everyone was thrown onto the same ballot: Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Greens whatever. If no one got 50%+1 of the vote, there would be a run-off among the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation.
Orssoff came close with 48.1% of the vote. The next six candidates – all Republicans – split 50% of the vote.
The Washington Post headlined this as “Republicans avoid embarrassing defeat in Georgia House race” because the run-off between Orsoff and second-place finisher, Republican Karen Handel, will take place on June 20.
This was Newt Gingrich’s old district. It was not created for Newt. In fact, as I remember it the Democrats poured every Republican they could find into the 6th so that they could make Newt’s old district much more Democrat.
Newt fooled them by packing up and moving to the newly Republicanized district thus, as Shakespeare might have put it, leaving the Georgia and national Dems to be hoist on their own petard.
National Democrats spent $8 million trying to wrest this seat away.
I have been in the communications division of the National Republican Congressional Committee on election nights when, through the tears of a bitter disappointment, we bravely put out a press release about how a close loss was really a major moral victory.
Moral victories don’t vote for Speaker. Moral victories go back to their girlfriend’s house and hope she graduates from med school.
Orrsoff might still pull this out in the run-off but without the emotional gravitational pull of a race that would embarrass President Trump, it is unlikely the Democrats will be able to renew the energy.
The Washington Post was so disappointed in the results that a story appeared Wednesday headlined – this is true:
“Forget Georgia, Virginia Democrats say victory in obscure local race signals the end of Trump.”
It is about a race for Clerk of Courts for Prince William County – about 30 miles southwest of DC – won by the Democrat.
This is what the Post described as “a harbinger or wake-up call” for opponents to President Trump.
I went back to make sure the dateline was not “April 1.”
The national Democrats put a great deal of time, effort, and money into trying to win these two specials. They failed, at least for now, in both.
Putting a brave smile and, as Orrsoff said in his speech Tuesday night, calling the result “a victory for the ages” might be putting the SUV before the tow truck.
The President allowed the NRCC to use his voice in robo calls in both elections, thus putting his brand at risk.
Donald Trump gets credit for helping in both races.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.