Jon Ossoff Considers 2020 Run for Senate in Georgia

Jon Ossoff / Getty Images

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Former Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff is considering a 2020 run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.

Ossoff, who will be 33 on Election Day in 2020, lost the most expensive House race ever last year in a special election for Georgia's 6th Congressional District after Tom Price left to become the secretary of Health and Human Services. If Ossoff won the Democratic nomination, he would challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), a first-term lawmaker and strong ally of President Donald Trump.

The former video journalist trotted out what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described as a "populist" message during a town hall Thursday in northeast Georgia:

"There’s more and more cynical politics. Student debt is skyrocketing. We’re still maintaining this unfathomably large empire that costs trillions of dollars," he said. "We’re doing nothing for crumbling infrastructure at home. And we wonder why there’s so much anger."

He added: "It’s because the people in charge are squandering the power and wealth entrusted in them to make our lives better."

Activists fretted to Ossoff about going door-to-door in the conservative areas of Georgia where Democrats are anathema, but Ossoff said, "if we become so afraid of each other that we won’t knock on each others’ doors, that’s the road to Hell."

Ossoff came up short in his race against Rep. Karen Handel (R., Ga.) despite a flood of outside money in the suburban Atlanta district. He was hampered in part by not living in the district he sought to represent. That wouldn't be a problem for him this time, since he does live in the state.

Handel didn't last long in her House seat, losing to Democratic candidate and gun control advocate Lucy McBath in the 2018 midterms.

Ossoff didn't commit to the Senate race, saying he would "think really carefully" before deciding what to do next. He could run for another office, too.

He could face stiff competition, however, if Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams makes a Senate bid of her own. She fell short in her race against Republican Brian Kemp in one of the most contentious and closely watched races in the country, but she put up impressive fundraising numbers and came closer than any Democrat to taking the governor's mansion since 1998.

Abrams said the race was unfair, however, charging that Kemp suppressed the vote through a variety of means and declaring the race an "erosion of our democracy." She drew national attention, but her claims were not backed up by solid evidence.

Her new organization is suing Georgia over the election, and she has Ossoff's support in that regard.

"We now have a system where a shocking number of Georgians are convinced their vote doesn’t count," he said. "I liked seeing Stacey Abrams fight at the end of this thing. I liked that she decided to make an issue of the flaws."

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