The Latest: Karen Handel wins District 6 Special Election

ROSWELL, Ga. (AP) – The Latest on Georgia’s 6th District Congressional race (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia special election, avoiding major upset in most expensive House race in US history.

7 p.m.

Most polls have closed in Georgia for a special congressional election that offers a potential preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

A few precincts remained open Tuesday evening after a rain-soaked day in metro Atlanta.

Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are expected to have a tight finish in the area’s traditionally conservative northern suburbs.

Ossoff wants an upset that would rattle Washington ahead of next year’s elections. A Republican has represented Georgia’s 6th Congressional District since 1979.

Turnout could exceed 250,000 votes, an impressive total for a special election, and its already the most expensive House race in U.S. history.

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3:35 p.m.

An election official says voting has been moving smoothly at polling sites in Georgia’s closely watched House election.

Richard Barron, director of Fulton County’s registration and elections, says the state’s most populous county is on pace to have around 36,000 people come through when polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. He says about 16,500 people had already voted by 12:30 p.m.

Barron says there have been a couple of voting issues, but it’s nothing that would derail having final results in by 11 p.m. He says one of the most common complaints has been from poll workers canceling people’s absentee-by-mail ballots at polls.

In the April 18 general election, state officials reported polling machines used to check in voters at one precinct in Johns Creek weren’t working properly, but the problem was resolved.

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3:10 p.m.

Election officials for a Georgia county in the 6th Congressional District say two polling places will stay open late after an equipment problem delayed the start of voting.

State officials said polling places at Livsey Elementary School and Holy Cross Catholic Church received the wrong equipment for checking in voters.

DeKalb County officials said the problem was resolved by 7:30 a.m. but they want voters to have a full 12 hours to cast ballots in the runoff between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams signed an order Tuesday afternoon keeping polls open until 7:30 p.m. at both locations. Other polling places in the district, which includes portions of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, close at 7 p.m.

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2 p.m.

An election official in Georgia’s most populous county says he’s aiming to have final results in by 11 p.m. Tuesday in Georgia’s closely watched congressional election.

That would contrast with last April, when Fulton County could not report vote totals for several hours after polls closed in the special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. That contest led to Tuesday’s run-off between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

This time, county officials are optimistic they will have more timely results.

Richard Barron, director of Fulton County’s registration & elections, says that although 11 p.m. is his goal, “accuracy is paramount.”

The county scheduled a briefing Tuesday afternoon to update reporters on its role in the election.

Portions of Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties are included in the 6th Congressional District.

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10:30 a.m.

A spokeswoman for Georgia’s top election official says voting in the state’s closely-watched 6th District is going smoothly but some issues have been reported.

Two voting locations in DeKalb County had the wrong equipment used to check voters in. Workers had to use paper lists as a backup.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Candice Broce said some voters were told to use provisional ballots. She wasn’t sure how many people were given those directions. Broce says DeKalb officials are considering whether to ask a judge to extend voting hours at the Livsey Elementary School and Embry Hills polling places.

Broce says investigators from the Secretary of State’s office are reviewing the issue. An investigator also went to a church in Cobb County after a complaint that campaigns signs were too close to the location.

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9:20 a.m.

As voting got underway in Georgia’s closely-watched Congressional race, the state’s chief elections official posted a video on social media urging voters to head to the polls and “wear your peach voting sticker with pride.” Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in the Facebook video Tuesday morning that Georgians’ right to vote for their public officials should never be taken for granted.

Either Republican Karen Handel will claim a seat that’s been in her party’s hands since 1979 or Democrat Jon Ossoff will manage an upset that will rattle Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Their matchup in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District has become a proxy for the national political atmosphere and a test of GOP strength early in Donald Trump’s presidency.

Karen Handel
Karen Handel, Republican candidate for Georgia’s 6th congressional district greets diners during a campaign stop at Old Hickory House in Tucker, Ga., Monday, June 19, 2017. The race between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff is seen as a significant political test for the new Trump Administration. The district traditionally goes Republican, but most consider the race too close to call as voters head to the polls on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

 

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6:25 a.m.

As the most expensive House race in in U.S. history goes into voters’ hands, President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to weigh in on the closely-watched election. In one early Tuesday tweet, Trump criticizes Democrat Jon Ossoff, saying he’ll raise taxes, is weak on crime and “doesn’t even live in district.”

Ossoff lives in Atlanta, south of the suburban district.

He has said the address is close to Emory University, where his fiancee attends medical school. In another tweet, Trump praises Republican Karen Handel as a hard worker who will fight for lower taxes, great health care and strong security.

The matchup between Ossoff and Handel has become a proxy for the national political atmosphere and a test of GOP strength early in Trump’s presidency. Trump barely won the district in November, giving Democrats an opening once Republican Tom Price resigned the seat to join the president’s Cabinet as health secretary.

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3:05 a.m.

The most expensive House race in U.S. history heads to voters Tuesday in suburban Atlanta. Either Republican Karen Handel will claim a seat that’s been in her party’s hands since 1979 or Democrat Jon Ossoff will manage an upset that will rattle Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Their matchup in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District has become a proxy for the national political atmosphere and a test of GOP strength early in Donald Trump’s presidency. Ossoff led an April primary but fell just short of an outright victory, sending an already costly race into a two-month runoff campaign. Trump barely won the district in November, giving Democrats an opening once Republican Tom Price resigned the seat to join the president’s Cabinet as health secretary.

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