Ossoff Announces Run for Senate in Georgia

(Updated) 32-year-old lost 2017 special election for House district he didn't live in

Senate candidate Jon Ossoff (D., Ga.) / Getty Images
September 10, 2019

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff announced Monday he would run for Senate in 2020 to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.).

Ossoff, known for raising $30 million in a failed bid to flip Georgia's Sixth Congressional District in a 2017 special election, is 32 and has never held elected office. He attacked Perdue, who is seeking a second term, as "one of the least effective and most out-of-touch members of the U.S. Senate."

"We’re in a state where one in three rural children live in poverty, where we have the worst maternal mortality in the entire country, and in a half a decade, this guy hasn’t come down from his private island to do a single town hall meeting," Ossoff said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He hands out favors to his donors. He runs errands for the president."

Perdue's office didn't directly respond to Ossoff's attack in a statement to the Free Beacon.

"Senator Perdue is still the outsider in Washington," Perdue spokesperson Casey Black said in a text. "He is truly a different kind of leader with a proven record of shaking things up and actually getting results. He is working hard every day to change the direction of our country, and he is fighting for Georgians who feel like many in Washington still are not listening to them."

One of Ossoff's main issues in 2017 was he didn't live in the district he wanted to represent. He now lives in Grant Hill, an Atlanta neighborhood, so residency won't be an issue as he seeks the Democratic Senate nod.

Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), a civil rights icon and revered figure in the Democratic Party, has already endorsed Ossoff.

"Like the many thousands Jon has already organized and inspired, I am ready to work tirelessly to elect him," Lewis said. "Georgia and America need Jon."

Georgia's Sixth is now in Democratic hands, after Rep. Karen Handel (R., Ga.) lost to Democrat Lucy McBath in 2018. Ossoff said he built something "special and enduring" in his losing bid that helped pave the way for McBath.

"I learned never to be intimidated from telling my own story and touting my own accomplishments by the inevitable partisan smears that will come from super PACs in Washington," Ossoff said. "I’ve been through the fire. I no longer care what they say about me."

His priorities include sponsoring legislation to undo the Citizens United Supreme Court decision loathed by progressives.

Other Democrats who have announced their bid to challenge Perdue are Clarkston (Ga.) mayor Ted Terry, former Columbus (Ga.) mayor Teresa Tomlinson, and trucking executive Sarah Riggs Amico, who lost Georgia's lieutenant governor race last year.

The nomination is wide-open after Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she wouldn't challenge Perdue, following her narrow loss to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 Georgia governor's race.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 4:27 P.M.: This article was updated with a response from Perdue's office.