Republicans surviving a close call in Georgia, retaining control of a congressional seat on Tuesday. Fending off a feisty democratic challenger, in what has historically been a safe, conservative area in an election that has been widely seen referendum on President Donald Trump.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Sandy Springs, Georgia, where democrats here at John Ossof's watch party are frankly dejected after their candidate fell short in a bid to win a seat that's been in Republican hands since the 1970s.
Republican Karen Handel, meanwhile, is celebrating a few miles away. She's headed to Washington to represent this stretch of conservative-leaning suburbs just north of Atlanta. The race coming as welcome relief to Republicans, who worried that Trump's sagging approval ratings would threaten their own political prospects. Tonight's results coming, as they try to advance ambitious tax and health legislation in Washington.
Democrats meanwhile go back to the drawing board. They've got to figure out a way to win outside of their liberal coastal strongholds.>> Both candidates trying to focus the race on local concerns, but drawing plenty of national attention, and plenty of national dollars. Total spending on the race approaching $60 million, nearly doubling the previous record set in 2012.
The election held to fill a seat that was vacated when Trump picked Republican Tom Price to serve as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. Trump lending his weight to the race via Twitter, calling Ossoff weak on national security and urging voters to back Handel.>> It's not clear whether Trump's Twitter messages helped or hurt.
Republican officials and voters here tell me that Trump has divided the party at the local level. Handel's victory a possible template for other Republicans running competitive races next year, focus on local issues try not to mention the president. Democrats meanwhile have fallen short four times in their attempt to fill open seats in Congress this year.
They're no doubt happy that they are able to compete at all in what has traditionally been a conservative district, but they've got some hard thinking to do in the months ahead.>> The fight goes on. Hope is still alive, I thank you all so much.>>