Georgia Dems Start Runoff With Silicon Valley Fundraiser

Ossoff, Warnock turn to California liberals to flip Senate

Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock / Getty Images
November 9, 2020

Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will attend a Monday night fundraiser with Silicon Valley progressives in an attempt to court deep-pocketed California donors.

The "Save the Senate" virtual event will be held by Manny's, a San Francisco-based restaurant that is "proudly located" in "a historic hub of activism and progressive action," according to its website. Owner Manny Yekutiel—who previously served as Silicon Valley fundraising director on Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign—advertised the fundraiser by stressing the importance of Georgia's upcoming January runoff elections. In a Friday Facebook post, Yekutiel said the races mark Democrats' "last hopes to save the Senate."

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the event via Zoom, with Ossoff and Warnock set to call in at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Organizers also alluded to a "big fundraiser" for Ossoff and Warnock in California that will take place in mid-November.

Ossoff has relied on California donors throughout his bid to unseat Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.). The Democrat raised $3.37 million from the Golden State in the third quarter, more than double the $1.64 million he raised from Georgians. Ossoff's failed 2017 congressional bid saw a similar dependency on out-of-state contributions—roughly 98 percent of the Democrat's campaign cash in the race's final two months came from outside of Georgia.

Out-of-state donors have also bankrolled Warnock's campaign against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.). Nearly 80 percent of the Democrat's funds have come from outside of Georgia, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Neither Ossoff's nor Warnock's campaigns returned requests for comment.

Ossoff, Perdue, Warnock, and Loeffler all failed to secure a majority of votes in their respective races Tuesday, meaning both contests will be decided by a pair of Jan. 5 runoff elections that are set to determine control of the Senate. In the wake of Joe Biden's projected victory, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) promised to "take Georgia" and then "change the world."

Perdue topped Ossoff by about 90,000 votes Tuesday, while Loeffler received 26 percent of the vote to Warnock's 33 percent. Loeffler, however, split Republican votes with Rep. Doug Collins (R., Ga.), who finished third. Republicans earned a total of 2.42 million votes in the crowded special election, while Democrats garnered 2.37 million votes.

Manny's is a popular stop for national liberals looking to campaign in San Francisco. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Beto O'Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg all appeared at the restaurant in 2019 amid the Democratic presidential primary.