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Former Washington Journalist
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Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat whose surprisingly strong showing in a congressional special election just months after Donald Trump took office, promised supporters that he would at least consider taking on Republican Sen. David Perdue in next year’s election.
Ossoff appeared to come out of nowhere in the spring of 2017, when a suburban Atlanta district opened up after Trump nominated the incumbent, Republican Rep. Tom Price, to join his Cabinet.
Although the seat had long been in GOP hands, Ossoff began to raise huge sums and attract the support of presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Ossoff’s surprising support became a litmus test for anger and disapproval against the new president and his Republican allies in Congress.
Although Ossoff ultimately fell to Republican Karen Handel–51.78 percent to 48.22 percent–it was still an amazing result given that Price had just won re-election a few months earlier with 62 percent of the vote.
Although Georgia has long been considered a safe red state, that appears to be changing as Democrat Stacey Abrams nearly defeated Republican Brian Kemp for governor in 2018.
Abrams, who delivered the Democratic response to Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address, was Democrats’ first hope to take on the freshman Perdue. She passed, however, leaving Ossoff next to consider making a race which may help decide whether Democrats can regain a majority in the Senate.
“As for my future I don’t know, we will see. I’ll take a look at the U.S. Senate race. I want to make sure we have the strongest possible candidate to challenge David Perdue,” Ossoff said to applause. “Whether or not I’m a candidate I’ll work to defeat David Perdue. We need a senator who has the decency to stand up for people who are suffering, who has the skill to deliver the resources that Georgia needs, and who has the integrity to uphold the standards of conduct that we expect from our elected officials.”
Perdue’s cousin is Sonny Perdue, a former Republican Georgia governor currently serving as Trump’s secretary of agriculture.