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Trump claims credit as Georgia congressional election heads to runoff

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to volunteers and supporters at a campaign office on April 17, 2017 in Atlanta.
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Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff speaks to volunteers and supporters at a campaign office on April 17, 2017 in Atlanta.

Democrat Jon Ossoff fell below the 50 percent level needed to claim an outright win against a mass of opponents in a closely-watched special election on Tuesday in Georgia's 6th congressional district, setting the stage for a runoff in June.

Ossoff sought to parlay opposition to President Donald Trump into a victory that would rebuke the White House and embolden Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

With 100 percent of 210 precincts reported, Ossoff was at 48.1 percent, according to a live election update on the New York Times site, below the majority threshold required to win the race outright. At around 1:00 a.m. ET, news agency AP confirmed that the race would head to a runoff on June 20. Trump, who had called on voters to reject Ossoff, claimed credit in a tweet.

Republicans nationally and in Georgia acknowledged before polls opened that Ossoff would top the 18-candidate field, which included Republicans, Democrats and independents on one primary ballot.