Handel wins nationally watched election in Georgia

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)

ROSWELL, Ga. (AP) – Republican Karen Handel has won a nationally watched congressional election in Georgia and avoided a major upset after the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history.

Her victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District comes after Republican special congressional election wins in Montana, Kansas and South Carolina.

Republicans are claiming momentum ahead of the 2018 midterms, but each race was much closer than expected for the four districts.

Those trends leave Democrats hopeful they can win a House majority next year. They need to flip 24 GOP seats.

The 55-year-old Handel is a former Georgia secretary of state who built her professional and political career after leaving an abusive home as a teenager. She succeeds Republican Tom Price, who resigned to join President Donald Trump’s administration.