In what proved to be the most expensive House election ever, Ossoff came out on the short end in a special House election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on June 20. He lost by 5 percentage points to Handel, who became the first-ever woman to represent the district in Congress.
Despite the loss, Ossoff tried to stay positive to the crowd that gathered at a party that was supposed to honor a historic defeat. Instead, it was another disappointment for the Democratic Party, as they failed to win another congressional seat heading toward the 2018 midterm elections.
Many of Ossoff’s supporters were seen in disbelief, with tears in their eyes during his brief speech. He thanked his voters, volunteers and his girlfriend Alisha for helping him through to the end.
“A few moments ago, I called secretary Handel, I commended her on a hard-fought race and on her victory this evening,” Ossoff said to the crowd, which booed. “Let me address you, the more than 12,000 of you who, as darkness has crept across this planet, have provided a beacon of hope for people here in Georgia, for people across the country and for people around the world…and it’s had nothing to do with me, it never has. It’s about you, it’s about an extraordinary community at an extraordinary moment in history.”
Ossoff didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, but spoke about we are living in an important moment in time, and his campaign showed that Democrats are capable of fighting when the odds are against them (Georgia 6 is notoriously red).
“(We had the) first opportunity to make a statement about values that we can still unite people,” Ossoff said. “At a time when politics have been dominated by fear and hatred and scapegoating and division, this community stood up, women in this community stood up, and you picked this campaign up and you picked me up and you picked Alisha up and you carried us on your shoulders and showed the world that in places where nobody thought it was even possible to fight, we could fight. We showed them what courage and kindness and humility are capable of.”
Ossoff and Handel were seen as being in a virtual tie, according to polling. But Handel surged in the last few weeks and outperformed the averages to claim victory.
“This is not the outcome any of us were hoping for, but this is the beginning of something much bigger for us,” Ossoff ended his speech by saying.
Before Ossoff took the stage, the crowd at his campaign party started shouting “this is what democracy looks like.”
A Democrat hasn’t represented the district in the House since 1979, and Handel will finish out the term of former Rep. Tom Price, who was confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
She used her victory speech as a chance to thank those who supported her, namely Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Rep. Steve Scalise, who was seriously injured after he and two others were shot by a gunman at a baseball diamond last week.
To watch Handel’s full victory speech, click the link below.