Ossoff Seeks to Turn Celebrity into Major Senate Win in Georgia

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“There is no doubt that having narrowly run and lost the biggest congressional race of all time has given me a valuable perspective,” Ossoff said in an interview.

“A well-fought fight can be worth what you build in the process, even if you lose this battle,” he added. “And with two seats in the Senate, the presidency actually investing here – this is the year of Georgia. “

Unlike Ossoff’s defeat in 2017, Tuesday’s primary received little national attention – or outside spending – compared to racing in North Carolina, Maine, Iowa and elsewhere. It’s the only big one primary where the national democrats decided not to put their weight behind a candidate despite the strong involvement of the party in other contests for nomination.

Ossoff is clearly the favorite to finish first Tuesday, holding a lead in public and private polls and a huge financial advantage. The biggest question is whether he can cross the 50% threshold to win, or whether the race will end in August. Former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson and businesswoman Sarah Riggs Amico are the other two best-known and best-funded candidates on the ballot competing for support among the seven candidates.

Polls have shown that Ossoff is below 50%, and Democrats are divided on his chances of winning outright Tuesday, according to conversations with more than half a dozen Democrats in Georgia and Washington after the race. A runoff could mean less time for the prospective candidate to raise funds and build a campaign to challenge Perdue well-funded.

Georgia hasn’t been at the top of the Democrats’ targeted races, but that could spur the party’s chances of reclaiming the room. If Joe Biden wins presidency, Democrats must win three seats in order to win majority – and with an imminent potential loss in Alabama, the party has worked to expand the target map to include the battlefield states in full swing boom.

Primary was originally scheduled for May, but has been moved and consolidated with the presidential primary because of Covid-19. And while massive turnout is expected largely through mail-in ballots, many voters have never received their mail-in ballots.

He was also overshadowed by the special election for the other seat of the state Senate, given the internal strife between Senator Kelly Loeffler and Representative Doug Collins. But this race will not appear on the ballot until November, with all candidates regardless of party running together.

Unlike other states, where national democrats have successfully guided their chosen candidates through nomination fights, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee has not approved in Georgia. Stacey Abrams, the 2018 candidate for party governor who to become a potential vice-presidential choice, approved Senate candidates in other races but not sided before Tuesday in his country of origin.

Ossoff, who is the CEO of an investigative journalism firm, launched an anti-corruption message and also drew on his support from prominent state democrats, including representatives John Lewis and Hank Johnson . Lewis, the civil rights icon, is widely featured in Ossoff’s television commercials, and the campaign’s closing spot focuses on the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man shot dead in Georgia earlier this year, with a radio version also starring Lewis praising his approval.

Most Democrats expect Tomlinson to finish second in the race and challenge Ossoff in the potential second round, although polls have shown Amico in the running. Tomlinson, who has served as mayor of Columbus for two terms, has used his government experience in a state she described as “in political transition”.

She also did not hesitate to attack Ossoff, calling him inexperienced and reversing his previous election loss, arguing that the party should nominate a candidate who has already won.

“At some point, we have to realize that he has all the name recognition that a man can have, but for some reason, he just can’t get that 50 + one,” he said. she declared. “There is no way we can get into the general election in this pitched political battle to turn the state of Georgia into a purple state at least with such a weak candidate. “

Amico, who was a candidate for the post of lieutenant-governor of the party in 2018 alongside Abrams, has kept the identifiers of this breed and enjoys the strong support of state workers groups, which could stimulate her in the last straight line. She mainly self-funded her campaign and used her experience as a businesswoman, arguing that the prospect would be an advantage in the current economic downturn.

“We are proud of our campaign to champion access to affordable health care and justice for marginalized communities,” said Amico in a statement provided for this report.

Ossoff’s campaign spent more than $ 2 million on television, compared to just over $ 670,000 for Tomlinson and almost $ 530,000 for Amico, according to data from Advertising Analytics. He overvalued Perdue in the previous seven weeks, according to recent FEC records, although the incumbent retains a substantial cash advantage over the Democratic field.

Perdue’s campaign is eager to set high expectations for their most likely opponent.

“With his huge advantage in advertising spending as public polls show him ahead of his main opponents, it would be a surprise if Jon Ossoff does not win his party’s nomination,” spokesman John Burke said on Tuesday. Lost.

DSCC spokeswoman Helen Kalla did not address the committee’s lack of approval in the race, but said in a statement that Perdue is a “weak incumbent” and that Republicans “are losing ground on the Senate card, and Georgia is no exception. “

The runoff would take place in August, and although most Democrats have downplayed the fact that it could jeopardize their ability to compete in the fall, some have expressed concern. A Georgian Democrat, who asked for anonymity to speak frankly, said the problem would come if runners-up “focus on slaughter rather than keeping an eye on the price.”

“If I am lost, I keep my head down and let them go against each other without doing anything or saying anything. Continue to raise funds, “said the Democrat.

The Republicans, who are in a precarious position to hold their majority in the Senate, are confident about Ossoff and argue that nothing but an outright primary victory shows weakness.

“He has been supported by special interests and his own ego for years, and he still thinks he has a future in elected politics,” said Matt Gorman, a GOP strategist who was director of communications for the arm campaigners of the House Republicans in the previous Ossoff race.

Ossoff, for his part, ignores these attacks. After facing tens of millions of negative expenses during his run home, he believes they will have little impact now.

“They can talk about anything they want,” said Ossoff. “Bring it. “

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