Still, Ossoff’s performance was a bitter pill for liberals who wanted a tougher challenge to Trump. “The best way for Democrats to maximize gains in 2018 — especially in purple and red districts — is to harness the power of the resistance and field candidates who proudly challenge power,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said after the results.

This was the beta test for the DCCC’s theory of the 2018 case that well-educated, suburban voters who swung away from Trump last year would reject GOP candidates for Congress.

Ossoff, while eschewing the heated anti-Trump rhetoric, tapped into the online energy of that crowd and raised and spent a record sum, upward of $25 million, allowing him a significantly greater ad presence on local television and radio.

But Republicans countered with a message that should cause great concern for Democrats — returning to their effort to tie Democrats to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).