White House paints Handel win as Trump triumph

Trump congratulates Handel for winning in Georgia

Republicans aired numerous ads against Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in the Georgia race, that cast him as beholden to Pelosi and what the GOP characterized as her big spending liberal values from San Francisco.

But he later shifted to focus on local concerns to match his Republican rival Karen Handel, a former secretary of state who argued the vote was a local issue and unrelated to Trump's presidency.

Lawmakers and strategists fretted about the party's inchoate message, and some called the race a sign that Democrats should not bet too heavily on converting red-tinged suburbs to win a majority in the House.

As expected, Republicans also won a special election in the fifth congressional district of SC held to fill the seat vacated by budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Congresswoman, who would you put at the top of your party?

But Democrats have the ability to recover quickly from this.

And then, in the "Morning Joe" interview, he took a whack at his own party: "The fact that we have spent so much time talking about Russian Federation has been a distraction from what should be the clear contrast between Democrats and the Trump agenda, which is on economics".

Senator Chris Murphy of CT told MSNBC that Democrats needed to focus on economic growth and "get back to being a big tent party".

"Usually they go after the most effective leaders because they want to diminish the opportunity that we have", Pelosi said.

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Ossoff's campaign raised $23 million and spent $22 million for the high-profile June 20 special election.

Some Democrats in Congress have publicly questioned Pelosi's leadership in the last few days, asking whether she's a drain on the party.

"Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost", Vela told Politico.

It is certainly morale-sapping for Democrats who still have not figured out how to secure a win over Mr Trump.

But Pelosi defended herself during a Thursday press conference, bringing up the criticism unprompted. Trump might not be powerful enough to drive Republican voters to the polls in 2018.

At a campaign-style rally in Iowa on Wednesday evening, President Trump praised recent GOP special election victories and his administration's accomplishments to date, while criticizing the media and Democrats.

Rather, the president said having the California Representative in charge of Democrats is good for the Republican party. They've faced competitive challenges in four Republican-leaning congressional districts in 2017, including a surprisingly close race in South Carolina Tuesday.

Democrats lost a heartbreaker of a special election Tuesday in Georgia.

"Tonight, the people of Georgia's sixth 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", said Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

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