Republicans stave off snub to Trump

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A Democrat has narrowly failed to pull off an upset victory in an election seen as an early test of President Donald Trump’s popularity.

Jon Ossoff fell short of the 50% needed to win outright in a congressional vote in Georgia and there will be a run-off.

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Mr Ossoff ran on a Make Trump Furious ticket in a suburban Atlanta seat that has long been Republican.

Mr Trump had taken a keen interest in the race and said the result was a “BIG ‘R’ win”.

The seat was made vacant when Congressman Tom Price left to join the Trump administration.

The final vote is not yet in but with 185 of 210 precincts reporting, Mr Ossoff was on 48.3%.

US media say the Democratic Party candidate will now face Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, in the 20 June run-off for the seat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. She was running second on 19.5%.

Despite not reaching the 50% threshold needed to avoid the second round vote, Mr Ossoff said: “This is already a victory for the ages. We have defied the odds, we have shattered expectations.”

There were 11 Republicans among 18 candidates in the first round primary, which had divided support for the party.

Republicans believe the run-off will favour them in a seat they have held since 1979, but the Democrats have spent a large amount of money on the campaign and will press hard for victory.

Mr Ossoff, a 30-year-old political newcomer, most recently worked as a documentary filmmaker after serving as a congressional aide to Georgia representative John Lewis.

Despite his lack of experience, Mr Ossoff raised a whopping $8.3m (£6.5m) in the first quarter, making it one of the most expensive congressional races ever.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG ‘R’ win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!”

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