Jon Ossoff lost the first major race of the Trump era. Can you win the last one?


ATLANTA – Jon Ossoff ends the Trump era the same way he started: as a young Democrat unexpectedly at the center of the political universe.

He lost his first position in June 2017, but the stakes were largely symbolic at the time. This time, some say the fate of the country, and even the world, will depend on what will be the last choice of the Trump era. No pressure.

“Jon started an incredibly expensive and hugely popular race four years ago,” said Matt Westmoreland, a Democrat from Atlanta City Council. “And now he’s found himself in a race with even bigger stakes and more money because Senate control is at stake.”

In the restless early months of Donald Trump’s presidency, then-30-year-old Ossoff captured progressive hearts and dollars in a special election to turn over Newt Gingrich’s old congressional seat, which has become the most expensive house race in history, and the political trends that would define the era.

His now representative Republican opponent, Senator David Perdue, says he will run in the Senate on one of Georgia’s two January runs, which “will determine the direction of our country for the next 50-100 years”. If the Democrats win both seats, they will end the Trump era by giving a vice-vote in the Senate to Vice President Kamala Harris.

It would also be a justification for Ossoff, whose defeat in the house triggered a familiar circular shooting among Democrats. Some in the party wondered if valuable money had been wasted on the seemingly hopeless reason that one of the houses had been won in a heavily Republican district.

Republicans, who hope the result will be the same this time around, have not lost Senate elections in Georgia since 2000.

“Only a socialist in a trust fund can fill the early 1930s trying to start his office with real-life performance,” said Jesse Hunt, director of communications for the National Senatorial Commission. “It all started with Ossoff losing the high-ranking competition after the DC Democrats and California Liberals flooded the state to support his candidacy, and that’s exactly what will be the end of it.

But Georgian Democrats say a lot has changed between these two libraries of the Trump era: Ossoff is a better candidate, and as President Joe Biden’s victory here shows, Georgia has become a much friendlier state to them.

Secretary of State Jasmine Clark, a scientist who narrowly defeated the Republican official in the “blue wave” of the 2018 midfields, said Ossoff could draw a straight line from Stacey Abrams ’governors’ near-missing race and then Biden’s expected victory this month.

“That 2017 special election was the catalyst for what we saw in 2018. And the 2018 election served as an even bigger catalyst for 2020, when the state finally changed from red to blue,” Clark said.

Georgia is one of the fastest growing states in the country, its thriving economy especially attracts colorful young people. Since the 2018 election, more than 600,000 new voters have been added to the roster, and it is estimated that an additional 23,000 young people will be eligible to vote by January 5th.

“Georgia has become younger and more diverse by the hour,” Ossoff said to the question of what’s different this year. “What we did to build the infrastructure … much of the work led by Stacey Abrams was history.”

A year and a half after Ossoff lost, Democrat Lucy McBath won the 6th Congressional District with a gun control platform in mid-2018. Bath, who lost his son in black and gun violence, was re-elected this month.

Biden district won With 11 percentage points, 55 to 44 percent – an impressive turnaround after Trump wore it tight in 2016 and dominated by Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, 61 to 37 percent. Next door, in the 7th Congressional District, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux gave the House the only real red-and-blue flip from 2020 in an otherwise disappointing year.

“Recognizing Georgia as a legitimate battlefield state is different this time around,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, founded by Abrams. “Demographics are on fire. Organization is the accelerator.”

Democrat Jon Ossoff is leaving the campaign office after meeting with supporters in the June 6, 2017 congressional constituency in Georgia, Marietta, Ga.David Goldman / AP file

Following Trump’s victory in 2016, a number of special choices were seen as a test of the new national vibe. But what really ignited was the Ossoffé in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

After the women’s march, a newly revived progressive “resistance” movement sought to do. He found a reason in Ossoff’s fundraising career for “Anger to Wrath.” He opened their wallets and packed their Subarus to help.

Samuel L. Jackson picked up the campaign ad. Trump traveled to Atlanta, hammering Ossoff as a radical left-wing lightweight. And a local TV broadcast news to deal with the influx of political ads.

Ossoff raised $ 8.3 million in the first quarter, an unprecedented amount at the time that was the first sign of a “green wave” of democratic money that would later help candidates like Beto O’Rourke keep track of fundraising.

“He’s a very disciplined campaigner. He’s a clever fundraiser,” said Sarah Riggs-Amico, who ran for Abrams and Ossoff as prime minister in the 2020 presidential election.

Nonetheless, there were many for a former congressman and documentary filmmaker who never took office and sometimes seemed deer in the headlights despite all the attention when he tried in vain to compete with local problems.

“A lot as a mature candidate,” said Angelika Kausche, a representative of the democratic state. “He was very, very young, and at some points it showed that he had no experience. At the time, none of us had experience.”

This year, in his most recent debate with Perdue, Ossoff spread because he dressed the senator during the pandemic for an opportunistic stock trade that might have violated ethical rules. Perdue declined to participate in further discussions.

The 2017 race is also the first real proof that the Georgian suburbs have changed.

The House Democrats campaign team used the competition to conduct the first focus groups of the cycle, which helped persuade it to focus on reversing suburban locations from California to Texas in New Jersey in 2018.

Kausche, a naturalized German immigrant, began volunteering for Ossoff’s campaign to learn more about American politics, but eventually applied himself.

“We haven’t found anyone who could have started because the traditional assumption is that this area is so red that it’s Republican and there are no Democrats. But the data [from Ossoff’s race] he told a different story, “he said.” So I said, “Okay, if we can’t find anyone, I’ll do it.”

In 2018, it won by 317 votes, reversing the seat of the State House previously occupied by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“Without my experience campaigning for Jon, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” he said.

Democrats now hope Georgia is on a similar path to Virginia, which has changed from red to purple to blue in just over a decade. But they know it can take longer than before January.

And while Ossoff’s first race was a house meeting that wouldn’t have changed the control of the chamber, this time it’s about the holdings.

“Georgians recognize the high stakes of these two senate processes because this incoming administration needs the ability to govern,” Ossoff said.