Georgia 6th District Runoff Election: Live Voting Results & Updates


Voters are heading to polling places to vote for Jon Ossoff or Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. (Getty)

The most expensive congressional election in United States history comes to a conclusion Tuesday.

Voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District are expected to turn out to polling places in record numbers as they decide who they want to represent them for at least the next two years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The special election pits Democrat Jon Ossoff against Republican Karen Handel, and it’s turned into a race that’s grabbed major national attention for the substantial circumstances that surround it. Many view it as a referendum on President Donald Trump and his policies, and the outcome should go a long way for both parties in determining their best path forward.

Ossoff won the first round of voting April 18 by a landslide, but because he didn’t grab 50 percent support, the top two vote-getters — Ossoff and Handel — advanced to today’s runoff election.

Polling has indicated that the race would be extremely tight heading into Election Day, and many have called it a toss up.

Check below for live results of the much-anticipated special election:

Live Results & Updates

Note: Polls close at 7 p.m. EDT and results will start to be tallied afterward. The results table below is powered by the Decision Desk HQ. Our running updates from election night are also below.

Race Background

The special election is being held to fill the vacancy left by longtime Rep. Tom Price when he was selected by Trump to serve as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ossoff is a first-time politician and serves as the CEO and managing director of an investigative filmmaking company (Insight TWI: The World Investigates). While he doesn’t boast any time serving within the government, he previously worked for Rep. John Lewis‘ office and also on Capitol Hill where he focused on national security issues. His performance in the first round of voting took many by surprise and helped Democrats see an opportunity to flip the district’s House seat.

Handel previously served as Georgia’s Secretary of State (2007-2010) and has a background in business. She served as the senior vice president of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but left the organization in 2012. She had a failed Senate run in 2014, but received the most votes out of 11 Republicans on April 18 to move on to the runoff.

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Heavy talked to David Nir, political director at Daily Kos, about the Georgia special election and Democrats’ rebuilding efforts in the age of Trump.

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Polling Averages Show a Virtual Tie

Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel (Getty/YouTube)

It was Ossoff who got out to a hot start once it was determined there would be a runoff. He led by 2 percentage points (50-48) in the first poll that was released ahead of the runoff, and only one of the polls that followed showed him behind Handel in the race.

Of those polls, the largest Ossoff lead shown was 7 percentage points in one released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But polling has certainly tightened since then. The final poll of the race, released June 19, showed Ossoff and Handel separated by just 0.1 percentage points.

That poll moved Daily Kos‘ polling averages for the race to exactly 42.8 percent apiece (with 3.6 percent being undecided), meaning there is a flat tie, according to averages.

The Cook Political Report moved its House race rating for the race from “lean Republican” to “Republican toss up,” and Sabato’s Crystal Ball also predicted a toss up.

That’s quite the change from what was first predicted in the congressional race. A Democrat hasn’t represented the district since 1979. Therefore, the thought that Ossoff had a realistic chance at winning seemed far-fetched.

But the results of the 2016 presidential election in the district indicated there was a real chance for Democrats to flip the seat in the notoriously-red district. While Mitt Romney carried Georgia 6 by 23 percentage points in 2012, Trump prevailed by just 1.5 percent.

For more information on the polling throughout the race, click below.

Georgia 6th District Runoff: Final Polling Averages Show a Flat Tie

An average of all of the polls in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District show a tie in the race to replace Rep. Tom Price between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel.

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What’s at Stake

(Ossoff for Congress/Handel for Congress)

As Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight wrote, “a loss for Handel would probably be interpreted by the GOP as a sign that the status quo wasn’t working.” The GOP is looking for a “signal of any kind” so that the party can coordinate its strategy moving forward, Silver added. A win for Ossoff would give Democrats a gigantic victory after previous efforts have failed and put them on the right track ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

A Handel victory, on the other hand, would be a huge momentum boost for Trump and the GOP, and another tough loss for Democrats.

HuffPost Pollster shows the Republican party with a 55.9 percent “unfavorable” rating and Trump with a 40.3 percent approval rating.

With so much at stake in the congressional race, money flooded in from both sides. It’s the most expensive congressional race in U.S. history with total ad spending surpassing $50 million just days before the campaigning came to a close.

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Early Voting Indicates Big Turnout

Voters cast their ballots at a polling place in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District special election April 18 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty)

More people voted early in the runoff election than the amount that did for the 2014 general election.

The unprecedented figures were tallied by Georgia’s Secretary of State, and they showed that over 140,000 voters either submitted a ballot in-person or via mail prior to the June 16 deadline.

The data found that a majority of the 140,309 submitted ballots came from those 50-years and older, and most of the accepted ballots were submitted by voters who didn’t identify with a political party in the last primary they voted in.

Those are massive numbers for a special congressional election, and that made high voter turnout on Election Day a good possibility.

Michael McDonald, who works for the U.S. Elections Project and is an associate professor at the University of Florida, charted the data in the district every day since early voting started May 30. McDonald’s graphs showed that early voters got out to a hot start, but slowly tapered off as the weeks continued. Initially, the district was on pace to outnumber those that voted early in the 2016 general election. But, as expected, it slowed down a bit.

In comparison, there were just 56,459 early voters for the first round of voting April 18. Those are big numbers in the district, and McDonald predicted that when tallied, early vote returns will be “less pro-Ossoff” than the first round of voting.

For a complete overview the early voting data, click below.

Georgia 6th District Runoff Election: Final Early Voting Data

Final data in Georgia’s 6th congressional district runoff for the vacant House seat is in. It showed that well over 100,000 people have cast votes already.

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Big-Time Endorsements

Donald Trump in a cabinet meeting on June 12. (Getty)

National figures have come out in full force to lend their support to both candidates.

With just hours to go until polling places opened and sensing the importance of the House race, Trump urged voters to put a checkmark next to Handel’s name on their ballots instead of Ossoff. He alluded to the fact that Ossoff lives just outside of the 6th district by saying he’s not able to vote for himself.

Ossoff lives with his girlfriend Alicia nearby Emory University in Atlanta. If he were to win the race, he told CNN that he would moved back to the district where he grew up after she finishes medical school.

On June 9, Vice President Mike Pence stumped for Handel in the Atlanta area. A few weeks before that, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held an event in support of Handel.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has publicly come out and supported Ossoff, albeit after a dustup, as well as Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis. Ossoff also garnered the support of actors Samuel L. Jackson and George Takei, too.

But now, all the campaigning is done and it’s time to see if it paid off.

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