WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Democrats get a run (but nothing more) for their money: Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the Georgia special election, earning her a coveted House seat and earning Democrats bitter disappointment.
Republican Ralph Norman also defended a GOP district in the less competitive South Carolina special election.
President Trump will ride those wins back to Iowa, capping his first visit to the Hawkeye State – his furthest trip west as president – with an evening rally.
The big reveal: Senate Republicans will release a draft of their health care proposal Thursday, in time for a vote next week, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The best defense can be your best offense, which is another way of saying that 2018 will be intense and intriguing every step of the way. Georgia Six will go down as a lesson in wasted resources and missed opportunities for Democrats, a stark reminder of party loyalties and of limitations to what even big, big money can accomplish. It also suggests that one highly motivated base is going to be facing down another one for the foreseeable future. The GOP woke up in Georgia: Democrat Jon Ossoff actually lost almost a full percentage point off his vote share from the first round of voting, even though the number of candidates winnowed from 18 to two. Karen Handel didn’t win exclusively or maybe even primarily because of President Trump. Still, her victory is reminiscent of November’s disconnect between national storylines and actual results. The result is that Trump now has his very own electoral winning streak to rightly brag about, just as health care gears up on the Hill anew. Among the lessons for the other side: Nobody – not James Comey or Robert Mueller, not coastal donors with fat checkbooks, and not the president’s own polarizing words and actions – is going to do the hard work of messaging and connecting for you.
DEMOCRATS’ MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Democrats poured tens of millions of dollars into Georgia because they saw an opportunity in the demographics: an educated, affluent suburban district, where President Trump barely beat Hillary Clinton. But voters here did not like the idea of being told from afar what to think, and Jon Ossoff was seen by too many as an outsider, cherry-picked from Washington. People here – among the best-educated voters in the nation – were tired of stereotypes and connotations about Republicans. There was great distrust of Trump’s low approval numbers – many people say the polling figures are just wrong – as well as a deep frustration with what they see as media bias. Another reason Democrats went all in? Ossoff seemed safe. He was sticking to the center and avoiding outright Trump-bashing. As a consequence, more progressive members of the party are now quietly saying, “told you so.” One Democratic congressman texted ABC News Tuesday night to say that future candidates in the party need “boldness” and “aspirational” economic messages. And so that battle continues, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks notes.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
President Trump heads to Iowa, where he will tour and give remarks at Kirkwood Community College and participate in a “Make America Great Again” rally.
State Secretary Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Mattis will host a U.S.-China Diplomatic Security Dialogue.
The FBI will hold a news conference to share the investigative findings to date in the GOP baseball shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, June 14.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller will meet with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify before the House Intel Committee.
NEED TO READ with ABC News’ Adam Kelsey
ANALYSIS: What Handel’s win and Ossoff’s loss means for Republicans and Democrats. Republican Karen Handel avoided a major upset Tuesday night, winning the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The Georgia Secretary of State confirmed, that with 100 percent of all precincts reporting, Handel won by a 52.13 percent-47.87 percent margin. That translated to 132,459 votes for Handel, and 121,635 votes for Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. Seeing an opportunity in this educated, affluent suburban district north of Atlanta, where President Trump barely beat Hillary Clinton, Democrats poured tens of millions of dollars into this race but still came up short. Their base had money and energy to spend, but instead of sending a warning message ahead of next year’s midterm, it’s the Republicans who landed the last word. http://abcn.ws/2sSC2gT
Republican Karen Handel defends district in Georgia special election, beating Jon Ossoff. Fending off a serious Democratic challenger in a race widely viewed as a barometer of public opinion on President Donald Trump’s presidency, Republican Karen Handel won the special election Tuesday to succeed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in Georgia’s sixth congressional district. http://abcn.ws/2tKluV5
Senate health care bill to be revealed Thursday; Spicer doesn’t know if Trump, staff have seen it. Less than an hour after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he didn’t know whether President Donald Trump or his advisers have viewed a draft of Senate Republicans’ health care bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced that it will make its debut on Thursday. http://abcn.ws/2tKUrZD
Trump says American student Otto Warmbier’s death a ‘disgrace,’ says he should have been rescued from North Korea sooner: President Trump called the death of the American student who returned home last week after being detained in North Korea, a “disgrace” Tuesday. “I think it’s a disgrace what happened to Otto,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko. http://abcn.ws/2tJY2qT
Rep. Adam Kinzinger shares ‘hateful, vitriolic’ messages he received following Alexandria shooting. Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger shared on Tuesday a few of the “hateful, vitriolic” messages he received following the June 14 congressional baseball practice shooting at a Virginia park, that left his GOP colleague Rep. Steve Scalise in critical condition. http://abcn.ws/2rTnVTJ
Senators call meeting with Ivanka Trump a ‘good start.’ After a rare appearance on Capitol Hill by first daughter Ivanka Trump on Tuesday, senators emerged from their closed-door get-together calling it “a great start” and a “first step” in paving the way ahead for legislation that will help Americans receive paid family leave and affordable child care. http://abcn.ws/2sz5Pby
Sen. Al Franken: ‘I don’t want to be president.’ “A wise man once said that healthcare is complicated. And of course, that wise man was quoting President Trump.” Appearing Tuesday on ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Sen. Al Franken didn’t pull any punches during a wide-ranging interview that covered health care, the special counsel’s investigation and his potential political ambitions. http://abcn.ws/2sRBV5l
@realDonaldTrump: Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0
@KellyannePolls: Laughing my #Ossoff
@ossoff: It’s extraordinary what this community has achieved — an unprecedented grassroots effort. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
@maryaliceparks: This race in this district will also have to change some of natl discourse that is still quick to allude to Trump fans as uneducated somehow
@adam_kels: Quick note on #SC05. Before Mulvaney’s election in ’11, Dems had held the seat since 1883! And we talk about the GOP in #GA06 since 1979…
@SalenaZito: Handel is the first female Republican member of the US House of Representatives from Georgia #GA06
@jasonnobleDMR: President Trump, Ag Sec Sonny Perdue and Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross will tour Kirkwood Community College on Wednesday: http://dmreg.co/2stiTiF
@AliABCNews: I asked @SenJohnBarrasso if there was a health care bill, y/n. His answer was at least 50 words long, with graph-like gestures to illustrate
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.