ATLANTA - Karen Handel won a nationally watched congressional election in Georgia to avoid a major upset ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Handel spoke to FOX 5 Atlanta in an exclusive interview the day after the election.
"When we saw the first numbers start to come in from Fulton County, on the early vote numbers, where we had really flipped that around to actually be in the lead, we knew that we were trending in the right direction," said Handel.
Her victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District means Republicans held all four of their seats that were up for grabs in special elections this spring.
"I've said from the very beginning that this race was and remained about the people of the 6th District," said Handel. "I certainly understand the attention from the press around the country. It, if you think about it, is one of the only games in town. But at the end of the day, it was really about the people in the 6th District, and I'm just beyond humbled that I have this privilege."
Democrats still managed narrower margins than usual in all four districts, and they hope that bodes well for next year's midterms.
"It was very important to them to have someone who had relationships in the community, someone with a track record," said Handel about constituents she spoke to. "It was not about national issues particularly, other than, when you think about national security, but not national politics."
The Georgia race ends as the most expensive House campaign in U.S. history, with a tab that may exceed $50 million.
"I said on April 18th, primary night, that for Republicans it needed to be all hands on deck, from the foot soldiers on the ground, all the way up to the Vice President and the President," said Handel.
Handel becomes the first Republican woman to represent Georgia in Congress. Ossoff becomes the latest Democrat to run a widely complemented campaign in a Republican-leaning state, yet still lose.
"I want to be a uniting force in the community," said Handel. "I think I do that by my actions, and how I conduct myself going forward. I'm well aware that my opponent, he had his group of supporters. At the end of the day, those individuals are members of the 6th District, citizens of the 6th district as well. I'm going to work hard to earn their confidence too."
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to celebrate Republican Karen Handel's victory in a Georgia special congressional race that became an expensive national proxy for Washington wars ahead of next year's midterm elections.
In a Tuesday night tweet, Trump congratulated Handel and said "we are all very proud of you!" In another tweet, Trump also congratulated Republican Ralph Norman, who won a special congressional election in South Carolina.
And in a third tweet, the president gloated over those wins and other recent Republican wins, saying "the special elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN are 5 and 0! All the Fake News, all the money spent (equals) 0."
The Associated Press contributed to this article