Democrat Jon Ossoff failed to deliver a knockout punch Tuesday night in Georgia's 6th Congressional District race, coming close but falling short of crossing that 50 percent threshold.
First the good news for Democrats.
"Going forward, if Democrats see success in Georgia, that could energize and mobilize more Democrats elsewhere", she says. For the second week in a row, Republicans have only narrowly held a formerly safe seat against a Democratic opponent. He stepped down earlier this year to join the Trump administration.
When asked whether Spicer was concerned that "Ossoff came so close to 50 percent", Spicer said, "Well, again, I would - just looking at the facts, there was one candidate on the Democratic side". The young Democrat named his first official fundraiser "make Trump furious".
Unfortunately for both Trump and Spicer, the smart analysis doesn't back up his confidence. But a special election is special. It didn't happen on Tuesday night - and now Democrats will have to wait nearly two months to see if they can start to build momentum for the November 2018 midterms.
Still, it is too early to draw firm conclusions.
"I think this was a big loss for them". Still, winning in a two-person race in this red district (despite Trump's only scraping through by 1.5 percentage points in November) will be tough. No, they lost. They made very clear what their goal was in this race. Republicans hold a 237-193 majority in the House so Democrats would need to pick up more than 20 seats to retake control in the 2018 midterm, an uphill climb.
If there is one thing the 2016 presidential election has taught, it is that the normal rules of politics might not apply in the Trump era.
He benefited from a fractured Republican field of 11 candidates, some of whom emphasised their loyalty to Mr Trump while others kept their distance. Trump won only 48.3% of the vote in the district slightly north of Atlanta last fall vs. 46.8% for Hillary Clinton. "I mean look, all Republicans, it's all hands on deck for us".
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of SC said the race showed how the South was changing. "There is districts like this all over the country that are getting much more moderate".
There is some hope for Democrats.
Of course, George W. Bush was deeply unpopular at the time and Republican were widely expected to perform poorly in 2008.
Leaders in both major parties agree the race offers a prime test run for 2018 elections, because the affluent, well-educated Georgia district is replete with the kind of voters Democrats must attract to reclaim a House majority and win more gubernatorial and Senate races.
Another distinct difference between now and 2008: Democrats actually won contested seats that year.
"Estes's underperformance in Kansas 4 should worry Republicans because special elections as a group have done a decent job of predicting midterm results over the past few cycles", Enten writes.
Republicans should take no comfort in winning, though.