Jon Ossoff finished well ahead of Republican rivals
Democrat Jon Ossoff ended up as the top vote getter in a crowded field of 18 candidates vying to fill a vacant seat in the House of Representatives. But with 185 of 210 precincts reporting, he held 48.3 percent of the vote – just shy of the 50 percent he needed to become the first Democrat to represent Atlanta's affluent northern suburbs since the 1970s.
That would tee up a June 20 runoff with Republican Karen Handel, who was headed to a second-place finish with 19.5 percent of the vote.
With few other events on the political calendar, the race was seen as a bellwether of the national mood during President Trump's turbulent first few months in office. Republicans have controlled the seat for decades, but President Trump only won it by 1 percentage point in last November's presidential election.
This is already a victory for the ages
"This is already a victory for the ages. We have defied the odds, we have shattered expectations," Mr Ossoff told a cheering crowd of supporters.
The winner replaces Republican Tom Price, who stepped down to serve as Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Democrats, searching for answers at a time when they are shut out of power in Washington, found a unifying figure in Mr Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker who campaigned on a promise to "Make Trump Furious".
Jon Ossoff said they had defied the odds
He raised more than $8 million in the first three months of the year, much of it from out of state, and drew volunteers from across the country.
Mr Ossoff benefited from a fractured Republican field of 11 candidates, some of whom emphasised their loyalty to President Trump while others kept their distance. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, did not mention President Trump during a 10-minute speech last night, according to local media.
National Republican groups spent millions of dollars painting Mr Ossoff as a neophyte who does not live in the area he aims to represent. Trump himself targeted Mr Ossoff with robocalls and a barrage of Twitter messages.
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Mr Ossoff benefited from a fractured Republican field of 11 candidates
First 100 days of President Trump
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US President Donald J. Trump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler while meeting with truck drivers and trucking CEOs on the South Portico prior to their meeting to discuss health care at the White House in Washington, DC
"BIG 'R' win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!" he wrote late yesterday.
Ossoff grew up in the district and says he will move back if he wins.
An Ossoff win would not tip the balance of power in Washington, where Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress. But it could weaken the already shaky hold President Trump has on his fellow Republicans by encouraging lawmakers to distance themselves from him.
Ossoff grew up in George and says he will move back if he wins
President Trump's approval rating has not topped 50 percent since he took office on January 20, according to polling.
The party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican Representative Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency.