A high turnout of Republican voters is believed to have boosted Karen Handel to victory in Georgia's special election Tuesday.
Democrat Jon Ossoff was favored in most polls entering the election that determined who would replace former Rep. Tom Price, who now serves as heath and human services secretary. According to Politico, Ossoff's defeat came down to numbers on the Republican side.
More than 259,000 votes had been counted as of Wednesday afternoon, a high number for a special election. The figure also marked a drastic increase from the first round of voting in April, which saw roughly 192,000 votes cast.
Tuesday's runoff election saw Handel garner more than 51 percent of the vote, enough to send her to the House chamber on Capitol Hill.
"This has much more to do with a historic turnout — 260,000 people, 40,000 more than a midterm — in a special election, which is normally a very restrictive universe," Ossoff's pollster John Anzalone told Politico. "At the end of the day with 260,000 people voting, we just ran out of Democrats and independents."
Pollster Robert Cahaly told Politico the high turnout likely meant Handel would win because Georgia's sixth district, which includes Atlanta's northern suburbs, is generally red.
"When turnout starts going up that high, and people start coming out of the woodwork to vote, it moves back to the [natural] alignment of the district," Cahaly said.
More than $50 million was spent on the race, which made it the most expensive congressional election in history.
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