What happens next: Ossoff will square off on June 20 against Karen Handel, a Republican who finished second in Tuesday's polling.
Trump, who attacked Ossoff in recent days as a liberal shill and mocked him for living outside of the district, crowed on Twitter about the outcome in Georgia following Democrats' failure to win a different special election in Kansas last week. If you can, you saw it instantly.
For his part, Ossoff said for weeks that his goal was to win outright Tuesday.
They helped the candidate raise an astounding $8.3 million in just two months while building a 2,000-person volunteer army that operatives say equaled or surpassed by any they had ever seen support a House candidate.
"We needed everything to go right last night and, frankly, it did", Cole said on CNN. "We were able to build a grass-roots organization of unprecedented intensity and scale in just a few months". In late 2013, for example, a number of local Republicans appeared to be in trouble after the GOP angered voters during a government shutdown - only for that issue to quickly fade away as President Barack Obama's administration botched the roll-out of his health law. Voting history and demographics of the district, which spans from east Cobb County to north DeKalb County, are still squarely against him.
Democrats, out of power in Congress and the White House, need a spark to convince themselves they can take back all that they had lost.
Democrats, however, argue that Handel must now combat high negatives from her two statewide races. "It showed the 6th District is a conservative district. And in the runoff, Karen Handel can win". Members of Congress don't have to live in their districts, but Ossoff has said he will move to the 6th after she graduates.
"The discussion within Komen about addressing the objections of anti-abortion advocates intensified a year ago after Karen Handel was hired as senior vice president for public policy, several former Komen employees said".
Handel is now on her third try. She starts out more than 54,000 votes behind Ossoff.
The next special election, for Montana's at-large congressional seat, is in similarly red territory; the district is 11 points more Republican than the nation at large. But she is the Republican nominee, and every element of the GOP will rally to elect her. Republican Bob Gray, who had a particularly bitter rivalry with Handel in the special election, urged Republicans to get behind her. So did U.S. Sen. After her failed gubernatorial bid in 2010, Handel joined the Komen Foundation.
Although Ossoff took the lead in the results, all of the Republicans in the race earned a combined 51 percent, indicating that Handel is still likely to do well in June.
"I think this was a big loss for them", he exclaimed. "Accountability in government. And fresh leadership".
Up until the April 18 election, Handel seemed to toe the line between full out supporting President Trump's policies and completely dismissing them. Her 10-minute speech on Tuesday night didn't once invoke his name, and she stressed Wednesday that she was running as a "strong, independent-minded conservative".
"He is the president of the United States of America". "We have defied the odds. shattered expectations", Ossoff told supporters, adding that they'd "carry us to victory" in June.
Both Wu and Kleiman also noted that Ossoff's relatively young age has attracted the support of a college demographic. GOP strategist Chip Lake said Ossoff "is in for the fight of his life".
Having already endured several million in attacks from national Republican outfits, Ossoff said he's ready for more. Others hunkered down for the long haul. "We are going to be united from this point going forward". "Jon is our hope for the future".