Sanders Doesn't Know if Jon Ossoff Is a Progressive

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) / Getty Images
April 19, 2017

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said in an interview Tuesday that he does not know whether Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff is a progressive.

Sanders, a self-declared socialist, became an influential voice in liberal politics after challenging Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary for president. He has also mobilized strong opposition against President Trump.

But the Vermont senator did not appear to know much about Ossoff, the 30-year-old Democrat running to win a vacant House seat in Georgia's sixth congressional district. Former Rep. Tom Price vacated the seat earlier this year after being confirmed as secretary of health and human services.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sanders said that not all Democrats are necessarily progressives.

"If you run as a Democrat, you're a Democrat," Sanders said. "Some Democrats are progressive and some Democrats are not."

Sanders was then asked if Ossoff is a progressive.

"I don't know," Sanders replied.

Ossoff has been counting on uniting Democrats in Georgia's special election. He came in first place after Tuesday's vote but did not reach the 50-percent threshold needed to clinch a victory. Therefore, he will face a runoff election in June against Republican Karen Handel, the no. 2 vote-getter.

Ossoff's race has drawn nationwide attention, including from those opposed to Trump. Some have even traveled to help campaign for Ossoff, who has received millions of dollars from out-of-state donors, with substantial amounts coming from Hollywood. Around 95 percent of donations to Ossoff's campaign have come from outside of Georgia.