Pundits said Mrs Handel will likely win the run-off, but on Tuesday the Republican said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Beating Ossoff and holding this seat is something that rises above any one person".
Most election observers expected a late night of vote counting, with a race that could be decided by a single point or less.
Congratulations to Jon Ossoff's campaign for all of their hard work in tonight's landslide in the race for Georgia's 6 Congressional District.
Ossoff won 48 percent of Tuesday's vote in Atlanta's 6th District and will go into a runoff vote in June with his Republican rival Karen Handel.
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A GOP state senator in Georgia recently said the 6th district's lines "were not drawn" to elect a Democrat, and yet, there was Ossoff, forcing Republicans to spend millions of dollars they didn't expect to invest in order to barely keep him below 50%.
Spicer did not mention that outside Republican groups also plowed millions into attacking Ossoff and encouraging GOP turnout; a political action committee backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House GOP leaders accounted for at least $2.2 million.
The party avoided embarrassment last week when it narrowly held a conservative Kansas seat vacated when Trump tapped Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr Spicer said Mr Trump could campaign for her "if needed".
With just two candidates in the race, Republicans are vowing to close ranks behind Handel's candidacy. "‶We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June".
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IMAGE: Supporters of Sixth District Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff cheer at Election Night party in Sandy Springs, Georgia, April 18, 2017.
Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, lagged in a distant second, qualifying her for the runoff. Most candidates who run form office want to win, that's generally a given. And I think it's important in this district.
"BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia". Everybody was talking about what's going to happen there because Trump is weighing in so heavily and the fact that Ossoff is a neophyte made it more of a proxy battle.
With the slogan "Make Trump Furious", Ossoff aims to galvanize opposition to a president struggling with an approval rating that has not topped 50 percent since he took office on January 20, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. The race was for the seat previously held by Republican Tom Price, who now serves as Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary.
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