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ATLANTA (CBSMiami) – Republican Karen Handel has won the most expensive House race in history, defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat.

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Her win dashes Democrats’ hopes of taking a seat Republicans have held since Newt Gingrich won it in 1978.

Handel had 52.5 percent of the vote compared to Ossoff’s 47.5 percent of the vote, with 81 percent of the district’s 208 precincts in the Atlanta suburbs reporting.

Heavy flooding in the area made getting to the polls a challenge for voters, although more than 100,000 Georgians voted early.

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The race between Handel and Ossoff has been the most expensive U.S. House race in history, and is projected to cost close to $60 million. Democrats outspent Republicans, in the hope of making the race a referendum against President Trump and his agenda. The seat was left vacant by Tom Price, selected by Mr. Trump to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

Handel, 55, was Georgia’s secretary of state from 2007 to 2010. She resigned to run for governor, but lost that race in a runoff. Handel also ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, but came third in the GOP primary. In the interim, she was a vice president at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure from 2011 to 2012.

Handel hasn’t tied herself closely to Mr. Trump, but the president cheered her victory.

The President’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, also celebrated.

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Mr. Trump won the district, considered solidly Republican, but by just 1.5 percent in 2016. Mitt Romney, for contrast, won the district by 23 points. The relatively wealthy district is 70 percent white, 13 percent black and 13 percent Hispanic.