Republican Karen Handel won a nationally watched congressional election Tuesday in Georgia, and she thanked President Donald Trump after she avoided an upset that would have rocked Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Cornell Clayton

Both U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Washington State University professor of political science Cornell Clayton said it’s too early to tell what the results of the election will mean for the 2018 midterm elections.

Clayton, the Thomas S. Foley distinguished professor at WSU’s Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, said the race became symbolic for both parties but may not be a bellwether for the 2018 midterm elections.

“I think it was overhyped,” Clayton said.

The fact that it was close in a traditionally Republican district could mean generic GOP candidates will have trouble next year, he said. On the other hand, the fact that a Democrat couldn’t win in a swing district where Trump didn’t do so well might mean 2018 won’t be a wave election.

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