President Trump and his allies cheered Republican Karen Handel's victory Tuesday in the closely watched Georgia runoff as a clear endorsement of the administration's agenda — and cast Democrats' special election losing streak as a rebuke of the party's "obstruction" tactics.
“Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Health Care, Tax Cuts, Security. Obstruction doesn’t work!” Trump tweeted.
Handel’s handy victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff follows GOP special election wins in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.
Democrats did hold on to a seat in California earlier this month. But Republicans are now boasting a "5-0" record in special elections for seats Democrats sought to flip — counting Georgia twice, as Ossoff was unable to lock down an outright win in the initial contest and lost to Handel in the runoff.
The Georgia race effectively had become a national battle, with Democrats pumping millions behind Ossoff and eager to cast a victory as a referendum on Trump. They didn't get it. Now the White House is claiming a referendum on congressional Democrats.
"Republicans are going to get tired of winning if the Democrats don’t get an agenda," White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on "Fox & Friends."
Despite having the White House and both houses of Congress in Republican hands, Trump’s ambitious plans have been largely stalled by Democratic opposition – though judicial reprimands and Republican infighting have also dealt Trump blows as he tries to overhaul health care, cut taxes and implement a contentious travel ban and "extreme vetting."
As he’s faced pushback from more conservative members within his own party on some legislation – particularly health care – Trump has begun to court Democratic votes, which, to this point, have been elusive.
With a "resist" message, Democrats sought to make the recent special elections a referendum on Trump's unpopular first several months in office — but that strategy appears to have backfired.
“Tonight, the people of Georgia’s 6th District overwhelmingly voted not only for Karen, but also for President Trump’s agenda of replacing our broken health care system, reforming an outdated tax code, and prioritizing infrastructure investment," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. "For the fourth time since November, voters have rejected the Democrat’s agenda of obstruction and made it clear it’s time get to work for the American people and join President Trump's administration in Making America Great Again.”
Trump also gloated about the win.
"Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and 0!" Trump tweeted late Tuesday. "All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0."
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway also basked in the Republican winning streak, and dealt a cutting jab to those who predicted an Ossoff victory and accompanying voter rebuke of Trump — both of which failed to emerge.
"Thanks to everyone who breathlessly and snarkily proclaimed #GA06 as a 'referendum on POTUS @realDonaldTrump'. You were right. #winning," Conway wrote in one tweet.
She added: "Laughing my #Ossoff."