Looking In: Jon Ossoff

President Donald Trump recently appointed Representative Tom Price (R-GA) to serve as his Health and Human Services secretary. After he got confirmed, his seat, the sixth congressional district of Georgia, was officially open.

Georgia’s sixth is a mostly white, conservative suburb of Atlanta and has had Republican congressmen for the last generation. Price won the district by a huge margin every time he ran, as did Mitt Romney in 2012. But here’s the catch: Trump won the district by one point over Clinton, 48 to 47. This is what’s giving Democrats hope: to flip traditionally conservative suburbs of large cities to take back the House. Trump lost a lot of these mostly educated districts across the country that were supposed to be safely Republican.

GA-6 is one of these districts. Besides being traditionally conservative, they’re also above the national and state average for being college educated. When they reelected Tom Price, they expected Hillary to be in the White House, but now that Trump’s president, the 47 percent who voted for Hillary could send in a Democrat to check Trump if they turn out enough voters for the special election.

Enter Jon Ossoff: a Georgetown-educated former congressional staffer and local of the district. He is a Democrat running to replace Price. Georgia has a jungle primary system, so candidates from both parties will run in the primary and the top two vote-getters will go to a run-off if no one takes more than 50 percent in the primary.

Democrats across the country are so energized that Jon Ossoff has raised millions of dollars in only a few weeks. After Daily Kos sent out a fundraising call for him, he broke their fundraising record, raising more than the previous record set by Elizabeth Warren.

The special election is set for April 18 and Democrats are hoping for Ossoff to place into the top two. His election is the national bellwether for the Democratic strategy to take back the House. Democrats are 24 seats short of a majority in the House of Representatives. With the current gerrymandered state of most districts (due to Republican control of redistricting after the 2010 census), there are not a lot of seats even in the range of possibility for Democrats. If Ossoff can pull off a pretty surprising and unexpected win in Georgia’s sixth, it will give a lot of momentum to Democrats running in conservative suburbs everywhere and it will scare Republicans into taking this new Democratic strategy seriously. Right now, Republicans are not scared. They are not taking this strategy seriously.

If Democrats can turn out enough voters for Ossoff, they have a shot at winning, which will take money and organizing. Money has been rolling into Ossoff’s campaign from progressives around the country and so has support from local Democrats in the Atlanta area.

So, pay attention to Jon Ossoff’s campaign on April 18. If he does win, that means Democrats have a chance in 2018 to finally take back the House of Representatives.


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