Jon Ossoff, Who Lost Congressional Bid in 2017, Announces Campaign for US Senate

September 10, 2019 Updated: September 10, 2019

A filmmaker who lost a bid for Congress in 2017 announced he’s vying for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.

Utilizing footage from that 2017 run, Jon Ossoff, 32, said in a video released on Sept. 10 that he was running for the seat to help fight against Republican President Donald Trump.

“My mother came here as an immigrant when she was 22 because she believed in America. She and my dad were the first in their families to graduate college. They taught me to be kind and to stand up for what I think is right,” he said in the video.

He said he grew disgusted with the corruption he saw while working as an aide in Washington, prompting him to become an “anti-corruption journalist … taking on powerful corporations, contract killers, crooked police, and ISIS criminals.”

Ossoff highlighted the failed bid for the 6th Congressional District, saying the last Democrat to try for the seat lost by 23 points while he narrowly lost in “one of the toughest races in history.”

Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel by about 10,000 votes out of 260,316 cast in a runoff triggered after the initial election, which saw Osoff draw 48 percent of the vote to Handel’s 19.8 percent.

Handel later said she won in part because voters were concerned Ossoff didn’t even live in the district.

“In the last month, Republicans suddenly started paying attention and more independents started breaking my way,” she said. “And the issue of his residency started permeating. It really did matter to people that they would have a congressman that was part of this district.”

Ossoff on Tuesday told supporters that the base they built several years ago will deliver the 2020 election.

“The battle we *began* in Georgia in 2017 will be *won* in Georgia in 2020 when we win the White House and the Senate,” Ossoff said. “In 2017 we rallied more than 13,000 volunteers. We ran the largest volunteer GOTV program in a congressional race, ever. In 2020, we will take that same spirit and energy to every corner of Georgia, defeat our corrupt Senator, and root out corruption in politics.”

In a series of missives posted on Twitter, Ossoff said that his policy proposals include universal background checks, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, implementing universal healthcare, and expanding access to abortion.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee in a statement called Ossoff a “failed congressional candidate” who was joining “fellow unaccomplished, far-left candidates in the already-crowded and divisive Georgia Dem primary.”

“Welcome to the circus!” the group added.

Sen. David Purdue (R-Ga.) speaks at the U.S. Capitol at a news conference in Washington on June 19, 2018. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Ossoff is challenging incumbent Sen. David Purdue (R-Ga.), who won in 2014 with about 53 percent of the vote versus the 45 percent Democrat Michelle Nunn garnered.

The seat is rated by Cook Political Report as likely Republican and Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Inside Elections as leaning Republican.

Other Democrats who are vying for the seat include Sarah Riggs Amico, a businesswoman who failed in a 2018 bid to be Lt. Gov. of Georgia; financial counselor Marckeith DeJesus, who lost bids for the Georgia State Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives in 2017 and 2016, respectively; Ted Terry, mayor of the town of Clarkston; and former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

The other U.S. Senate seat in Georgia will also be in play in 2020 after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced he would retire at the end of the year. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will appoint a replacement but voters will elect the person who gets the seat from the election through 2022, when Isakson’s term was scheduled to end.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
RECOMMENDED