Democrats are close to flipping a solidly Republican district in Georgia after a strong showing in Tuesday's primary election, new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Wednesday.
Perez said he took heart from Jon Ossoff's first place finish in Tuesday's jungle primary — which included candidates from both parties — that fell short of the 50 percent needed to win the election outright.
Georgia's 6th Congressional District has been solidly Republican for decades, having been former Speaker Newt Gingrich's seat, but Tuesday's vote gives Perez hope that Democrats can take the seat in June 20's special election.
"You're at first-and-goal at the 8-yard-line and now you've got to punch it in," he said.
Ossoff is facing Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state. The election is being held to find a replacement for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who won the seat by 23 points in November.
Perez said the vote was indicative of the energy in the Democratic base right now, and he's hoping that energy will pay off in June with a few more people coming out tot the polls. Cumulatively, the three Democratic candidates in Tuesday's primary garnered about 49 percent of the vote.
"Our candidate has roughly 48 to 49 percent of the vote going into the runoff, and there are still votes out there that are moderates," he said.
"The energy's palpable and we're going to translate that into more votes," he added.