Karen Handel spoke to an over-joyed room full of supporters and thanked President Donald Trump and Rep. Steve Scalise for helping her to a historic win during her victory speech Tuesday night.
Handel, the former Republican Secretary of State in Georgia, had just defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election for the vacant House seat in the state’s 6th Congressional District. She won by over 5 percentage points to become the first-ever woman to represent Georgia 6 in Congress.
She used her victory speech as a time to give a message of perseverance while also thanking national figures from the Republican Party for lending her their support. That list included Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence.
The crowd roared with loud chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump,” after Handel thanked him, and the president responded with a victorious message on Twitter shortly after.
Ryan issued a statement after the projections started rolling in, wishing her congratulations for her victory.
Handel also took a moment to thank Scalise, who was seriously injured along with two others after they were shot by a man at a baseball diamond last week in Alexandria, Virginia. She said that people shouldn’t have to feel afraid to express their opinions.
“Right up until that tragic day on the ball field, Steve would drop me a text every week,” she said. “What happened on that ball field was a terrible tragedy and we need to all continue to lift up Steve and the other two who were injured that day, and we need to also lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements.
“Because in these United States of America, nobody should ever feel their life is threatened over their political beliefs and their positions, and I say that to those on both sides of the political aisle.”
Handel outperformed many polls in the congressional race, which showed Ossoff with a slight edge ever since the first round of voting over two months ago. But that lead started to tighten in recent weeks, and the race was deemed a tossup prior to Election Day.
“On April 18, I told people it was going to be a very tight race and it was going to require all hands on deck, and that’s exactly what we had,” a triumphant Handel said.
Ossoff, on the other hand, used his concession speech as an opportunity to deliver a message of hope in a crucial time in our country. To check out Ossoff’s speech, click below.