GOP House campaign group chief touts Republican success in Georgia race

GOP House campaign group chief touts Republican success in Georgia race
© Greg Nash

The head of the Republican Party's House campaign arm is reveling in Karen HandelKaren Christine HandelConservative women's group rolls out new GOP endorsements for 2020 The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race MORE's Tuesday night victory in Georgia's special House race, touting it as a sign that the party could hold its House majority in 2018.

In an interview with Politico Tuesday night, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversHouse passes bill to allow VA to fund service dogs for veterans with PTSD Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing plans MORE celebrated the Republican win in Georgia — the fourth and final victory for the GOP in the 2017 special House elections.

“I’d love to see where [the Democrats'] momentum is at 0 and 4,” Stivers told Politico. “They poured $33 million into this seat and came away short. That just goes to show you that when you spend $33 million but you talk about issues that the American people don’t believe, you can’t win.”

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The race between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District garnered intense interest across the country. For Democrats, the election was seen as an early signal of their ability to retake the House in 2018, as well as a referendum on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE.

The race became the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history, with both candidates and outside spending totaling about $55 million.

But Republicans' decisive win on Tuesday fueled Stivers's hopes that his party may be better off in 2018 than Democrats thought, though he said that the GOP still has "a lot of work to do."

“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do," he said. "But I think we’ve proven ourselves pretty solidly at this point, by being outspent by $10 million, having them throw the kitchen sink at us, and we still win.”

But Republicans could still face a tough battle in 2018. The four special House elections this year — in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina and Georgia — ended in narrower-than-usual victories for GOP candidates.

Still, Stivers told Politico that no amount of money could have won Democrats the Georgia district, which has been held by Republicans for nearly 40 years. The bigger issue for Democrats, he said, is their ideas. 

“They thought they could take national money and pour it into Georgia and change an election," he said. "But you can’t change the fabric of society with $30 million.”