The Note: Dems fall short in Georgia

PHOTO: Democratic U.S. House of Representatives candidate Jon Ossoff greets volunteers at a campaign office in Chamblee, Georgia, April 13, 2017 | U.S. President Donald J. Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on March 28, 2017.
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WATCH Georgia congressional race heads to runoff


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Day No. 90

THE BIG STORY: That was so much fun that we get to enjoy two more months of it. The most over-analyzed and thoroughly dissected special election of recent memory offers few definitive lessons out of the first round of voting, other than dressing up as a “Star Wars” character in college doesn’t disqualify you from higher office, evidently. The fact that Democrat Jon Ossoff fell below 50 percent in the race in Georgia is not, as President Trump tweeted, a “BIG ‘R’ win.” Nor is it, as DNC Chair Tom Perez said, a clear sign that voters “are already fed up with Republican leadership.” Like so much in the Trump era, it’s complicated. The most avowedly pro-Trump Republicans fell short; the establishment Republican with the most familiarity to voters, Karen Handel, rose to the top of the GOP field; and Ossoff came tantalizingly close to avoiding a runoff altogether, in a district that’s long been ruby red. An outright win would have sent a louder message, of course. But a few percentage points of vote share in one special House election doesn’t change the outlook of the storyline: Republicans will be playing more defense than offense for a while.

THE BURIED STORY: It has happened – the first DREAMer deportation of the Trump presidency. The circumstances are still murky, but a 23-year-old man brought to the U.S. as a child – and protected by the Obama administration’s DACA policy – was deported and barred reentry in California. It was enough for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to toast the Border Patrol with a mug of beer via Twitter. And it’s more than enough for Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups to jump on the case to argue that the Trump administration is breaking the president’s commitment to “show great heart” to young people who are illegally in the U.S. through no fault of their own. The president has delayed any action on so-called DREAMers despite his agencies’ overall get-tough policies on undocumented immigrants and foreign workers. But Trump can’t stay silent on this forever, and events may be forcing his policy hand.

THE SHINY STORY: The eyes of the sports world and beyond will be on the White House today, where President Trump will continue the tradition of presidential congratulations for sports champions. The visit of the New England Patriots – now with a shadow cast by the suicide of a former teammate, Aaron Hernandez, who was imprisoned for murder – brings together some intriguing cross-currents. Trump is close friends with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, and considers both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady friends as well. (Remember the MAGA hat spotted in Brady’s locker?) Trump loves champions, of course. But the Patriots, with their blue-state fan base, are hardly a perfect fit for his politics. At least six Patriots players have said they plan on boycotting. This figures to be the new normal in the Trump era, where everything – even sports celebrations – is political.

TLDR: Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff came close, but failed to avoid a runoff last night in the closely watched race for Georgia's sixth district, meaning he will face off against former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel in the June runoff.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: In this image taken late last night, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff addressed supporters at his election watch party. He came in first place but failed to meet the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. He told those in attendance, "We have defied the odds. We have shattered bring it on." (John Bazemore/AP Photo)

PHOTO: Democratic candidate for Georgias Sixth Congressional Seat Jon Ossoff speaks to supporters during an election-night watch party, April 18, 2017, in Dunwoody, Ga. John Bazemore/AP Photo
Democratic candidate for Georgia's Sixth Congressional Seat Jon Ossoff speaks to supporters during an election-night watch party, April 18, 2017, in Dunwoody, Ga.


--DEMOCRAT OSSOFF FINISHES FIRST IN GEORGIA PRIMARY BUT FALLS SHORT OF THRESHOLD TO AVOID RUNOFF: Democrat Jon Ossoff led all candidates in a 17-way race to succeed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in Georgia's sixth congressional district, but fell short of receiving the necessary 50 percent to avoid a runoff in the race widely viewed as a mandate on President Donald Trump's first months in office. A first place finish for Ossoff was expected as Democrats in the traditionally red suburban Atlanta district heavily favored the 30-year-old first-time candidate, while Republicans spread their votes across 11 choices. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican, finished in second and will face Ossoff in the runoff on June 20, ABC’s ADAM KELSEY and RYAN STRUYK report.

--ONE-TIME DACA RECIPIENT DEPORTED AS HOMELAND SECURITY DISPUTES STATUS: A 23-year-old man who was at one time a protected undocumented immigrant under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been deported to Mexico, according to court documents. The deportation, his lawyers claim, is the first of its kind under the administration of President Donald Trump, a fact disputed by the Department of Homeland Security. Juan Manuel Montes was deported by Customs and Border Protection on February 18. ABC's ADAM KELSEY, GENEVA SANDS and JACK DATE have more:

--IN BUSINESS DEALINGS, DONALD TRUMP HAS IGNORED 'BUY AMERICAN' ETHOS: President Donald Trump signed an executive order to tighten requirements that federal agencies "Buy American" Tuesday, but it’s a concept that Donald Trump regularly ignored as a businessman. During a December visit to the recently opened Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., however, ABC News found several foreign-made items from at least six foreign countries scattered throughout a fourth-floor "King Deluxe" suite, contrary to the spirit of Trump's latest push toward economic nationalism.

--ON ‘GMA’ - AIRCRAFT CARRIER NOT HEADED TO NORTH KOREA, ACCORDING TO US OFFICIALS: ABC News' analyst Steve Gaynard discusses new information that shows the strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, was not headed to the Korean Peninsula, as reported, but was thousands of miles away.


HOW JON OSSOFF BECAME THE INSURGENT CANDIDATE IN GEORGIA'S SPECIAL ELECTION. Ossoff, 30, is a first-time office seeker who was raised in the district just north of Georgia's largest city, but has faced criticism for currently living outside the area he hopes to represent -- a situation he claims is temporary, reports ABC's ADAM KELSEY.

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TARGETING FOREIGN WORK VISAS. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday titled “Buy American, Hire American” while on a trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he called on federal agencies to overhaul the H-1B visa program. The order addresses the Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and State Department to “take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse” within the U.S. immigration system in order to "protect workers," write ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS and ADAM KELSEY.

TRUMP'S HISTORY OF USING FOREIGN WORKERS IN HIS BUSINESS VENTURES. President Donald Trump delivered a speech Tuesday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, reiterating a campaign maxim: Buy American, hire American. But unlike a few months ago, now he's expected to act on it. Trump has issued an executive order to "take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse" in the United States' immigration system. Before he ventured into politics, Trump made use at his various business ventures and properties of some of the visa programs that will likely be under review. ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY and ALI DUKAKIS have more:

SENATE DEMOCRATS: COST FOR US-MEXICO BORDER WALL COULD 'SOAR' TO $70 BILLION. Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee estimated that the total cost of the construction of the border wall could "soar" to nearly $70 billion, according to a report prepared by minority side of the committee, led by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri. However, the report also says that "no reliable estimate of the cost of construction for the full border wall currently exists." The findings were based on the per-mile cost was extrapolated from information provided by DHS to the Senate and then multiplied by the length of the potential border wall, explains ABC's GENEVA SANDS.

PENTAGON BEGINS NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW. The Pentagon has begun a Nuclear Posture Review that will guide the strategy for the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons programs and modernization of the nuclear triad over the next decade. The new review will also factor in the current geopolitical reality of frayed relationships with Russia and China that were not present during the last review conducted in 2010, reports ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ. "The Nuclear Posture Review is a legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years," reads the Defense Department's website for the review.

TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES RECORD-BREAKING FUNDRAISING HAUL. President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee announced a record-breaking fundraising haul – nearly double the record set by then-President Barack Obama in 2009 – for the festivities surrounding his inauguration.Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee, or PIC, announced Tuesday that it raised just under $107 million to pay for all inauguration activities.Obama's 2009 inaugural committee brought in more than $53 million, notes ABC's ALI ROGIN.

DHS SECRETARY JOHN KELLY: 'WE ARE A NATION UNDER ATTACK.' Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly offered an unapologetic view of his department and the Trump administration's goals for the nation's safety, telling a Washington, D.C., audience that "we are a nation under attack." On Tuesday, Kelly said the United States is under attack from all kinds of bad actors -- criminals, homegrown terrorists, cyber-terrorists, smugglers, transnational criminal organizations, failed states, "sadistic radicals" and "people who hate us," among others, writes ABC's GENEVA SANDS.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH HOSPITALIZED BUT 'DOING FINE.' Former President George H.W. Bush is currently hospitalized in Houston after a "mild case of pneumonia" but is "doing fine," his spokesman said late Tuesday afternoon. According to a statement from Bush's office, he "was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Friday due to a persistent cough that prevented him from getting proper rest," and doctors treated him for pneumonia, which "has been resolved,” ABC’s ADAM KELSEY notes.


AMERICAN OVERSIGHT SUING DOJ FOR TRUMP TOWER WIRETAP RECORDS: The watchdog group American Oversight will file two separate lawsuits against the DOJ for the release of records related to any wiretaps of Trump Tower and for other documents related to the investigation of the Trump campaign's connections with Russia. The first lawsuit seeks the release of records for surveillance of Trump Tower or associates of the Trump campaign. The second lawsuit seeks two sets of documents from the FBI: information about White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus's attempt to persuade the bureau to rebut media reports about the investigation into the Trump campaign, and SF-86 vetting form on which Attorney General Sessions should have disclosed any contacts with foreign government officials.

LCV JOINED BY SCHUMER, HEALEY & BROWNER TO CALL OUT TRUMP’S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: “On Wednesday, April 19th at 12:00 PM ET, the League of Conservation Voters, US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Carol M. Browner, Former EPA Administrator, Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and LCV Board Chair, will call out the Trump Administration for its attacks on public health and the environment during the Trump administration’s first 100 days in office. The group will also encourage the public to join them at the Peoples Climate March to fight back against President Trump whose 100th day falls on April 29th, also the date of the Peoples Climate March.”


@realDonaldTrump: Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!

@karenhandel: .@realDonaldTrump thank you for the call this morning. #ga6

@JBFlint: Fox News is preparing to cut ties with Bill O’Reilly

@bluestein: Republicans begin to rally behind Karen Handel in Georgia runoff