Democrats struggle for right strategy after special election losses
(KMSP) - Millions of dollars were pumped into the 6th District race in Georgia by both parties. But despite all the money, the Democratic Party didn't turn the tables in special elections for house seats vacated by Republicans.
Tuesday was a triumphant night for Republicans, winning 4 of 5 special elections, including the most expensive House race in U.S. history. Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th district.
"They took a special election and blew it out of proportion," said David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University.
In Georgia's 6th Congressional District, Democrats spent over $20 million with millions more pouring in from outside groups.
Democratic challenger Jon Ossof was hoping to flip the historically red district by campaigning not just against his opponent, but also President Trump.
"And what they hoped by making it a referendum on Trump was by saying Trump is bad, Trump is awful, that would be enough to win and they didn't," said Schultz.
A similar strategy also failed in South Carolina's Congressional 5th District, leaving questions about the Democratic parties strategy with midterms less than two years away.
"There's some important lessons we as Democrats need to learn moving forward and how to appeal to a greater swath of Americans,” said Darin Broton, a Democratic strategist.
Broton says one takeaway is finding candidates who better represent their district.
But he also called Tuesday’s tight races a moral victory, remaining optimistic about the chances of Democrats in 2018.
"If you just look at the math, midterm elections there is always a wave against the incumbent party,” said Broton.