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The Latest: Georgia Dems search for upsides in House loss

CORRECTS THE SPELLING OF HANDEL'S FIRST NAME TO KAREN - Republican candidate for Georgia's 6th District Congressional seat Karen Handel declares victory during an election-night watch party Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

DUNWOODY, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on Georgia’s 6th District Congressional race (all times local):

5 p.m.

Republicans say Karen Handel’s victory in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District proves the GOP is still the dominant party in Georgia.

Democrats say Jon Ossoff’s showing means they’re actually making progress toward making Georgia a genuine battleground.

Turns out, both sides can be right this time. There are no moral victories in politics, but Tuesday’s runoff demonstrated several trends for Georgia.

Ossoff’s supporters say they plan to reorganize and will try to force Republicans to compete in local and state elections in historically safe territory, similar to the congressional district in suburban Atlanta. Handel backers, meanwhile, credit Republican voters for coalescing behind her in a show of the party’s strength, even in an area where President Donald Trump underperformed GOP margins in November.

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6:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to celebrate Republican Karen Handel’s victory in a Georgia special congressional race that became an expensive national proxy for Washington wars ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

In a Tuesday night tweet, Trump congratulated Handel and said “we are all very proud of you!”

In another tweet, Trump also congratulated Republican Ralph Norman, who won a special congressional election in South Carolina.

And in a third tweet, the president gloated over those wins and other recent Republican wins, saying “the special elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN are 5 and 0! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0.”

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3:10 a.m.

Republicans have some breathing room after Karen Handel won a nationally watched congressional election in Georgia to avoid a major upset ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Her victory Tuesday over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District means Republicans held all four of their seats that were up for grabs in special elections this spring.

Democrats still managed narrower margins than usual in all four districts, and they hope that bodes well for next year’s midterms.

The Georgia race ends as the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history, with a tab that may exceed $50 million.

Handel becomes the first Republican woman to represent Georgia in Congress.

Ossoff becomes the latest Democrat to run a widely complemented campaign in a Republican-leaning state, yet still lose.

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