White House paints Handel win as Trump triumph

Dems reconsider high expectations after Georgia defeat

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President Trump stirred the pot, Thursday, tweeting: "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out". In special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, Democrats went 0-for-4 losing races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas.

"#Ossof Race better be a wake up call for Democrats - business as usual isn't working".

Democratic candidate for 6th congressional district Jon Ossoff, left, concedes to Republican Karen Handel while joined by his fiancee Alisha Kramer at his election night party in Atlanta, Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

"Winning hotly contested swing seats. requires candidates who closely match their districts - even if they don't perfectly align with the national party's activist base", Reed and Emanuel wrote in The Atlantic on Tuesday. A Handel ad portrayed Ossoff - who ran on a decidedly moderate message - as a San Francisco-style liberal aligned with "Nancy Pelosi and outsiders who just don't share our priorities".

That "Republican playbook" obviously is working, declared Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of NY, who concluded in an interview Thursday that Pelosi's time in leadership is over.

Pelosi "consistently polls very unfavorably", said John Rogers, the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee - the House GOP's campaign arm.

In a letter to Democrats late Wednesday, Pelosi insisted majority control of the House is up for grabs.

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Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged Nancy Pelosi for her leadership post, was quoted in The New York Times saying, "Our brand is worse than Trump". "One of the disappointing things from the last couple days is that that approach has a little bit of punch to it, it still moves voters".

House Democratic leaders are taking some comfort in coming in a close second for a seat that's always been firmly in GOP hands.

"Certainly, one thing I learned as a Marine is my job description was very simple: You're responsible for everything your platoon does or fails to do", Moulton said.

She recently had a shining moment on the House floor, however, in the hours after the June 14 shooting of Republican lawmakers.

Some Democrats, though, have wanted her out, particularly after the party was unable to win back control in 2016, a year when the party was seen as having a decent chance of doing so. Even in the minority, the votes she commands are often needed to pass spending bills or other must-pass legislation that House conservatives disdain, and GOP speakers have had to come to her repeatedly hat in hand.

The focus on Pelosi comes in part because she's the only figure in Democratic politics who is universally known and detested on the right.

For GOP consultants, the tie-every-Democrat-to-Pelosi is a tried-and-true strategy that's been working for more than six years. Now, with Obama and Reid gone, Republicans have occasionally tried latching Democratic senators to Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, with mixed results. His 2015-16 giving was well behind Pelosi a year ago, at $592,500.

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That non-answer didn't work - so some Democrats on Wednesday were going further in distancing themselves from the former speaker. "So, we are paving a way for a new generation of leadership". "So, we've got to stand for those issues, we've got to fight for those issues, but the thrust of our message needs to be an economic one, because no matter who's hearing you, and you may be with them on the other issues, they know that you're talking about what they're thinking about every day at their own kitchen table".

"This is not anything personal between me and Nancy Pelosi".

Democrats lost another race in SC that same night, and that followed previous disappointments in Montana and Kansas.

Republicans' ability to effectively use Pelosi as their bogeyman in Georgia was especially stark when contrasted with the Democrats' tactics there. More than $50 million was spent on the race in Atlanta's wealthy suburbs, making it the costliest House race in history.

It deals a serious blow to Democratic momentum and prime evidence that their money won't buy a win against Trump.

Republican Karen Handel wins Georgia.

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