Jon Ossoff (SFS ’09) announced his decision to run in the upcoming 2020 Georgia Senate elections Sept. 10, joining three other Democratic candidates who are vying to unseat incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).
Ossoff ran for Congress in 2017 in the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Ossoff lost the race, which became the most expensive House of Representatives race in history, according to The New York Times. Republican Karen Handel, who beat Ossoff in the runoff, lost the seat, however, in the 2018 midterms to Democrat Lucy McBath (D-Ga.).
Ossoff’s campaign is focused on combating political corruption, which he claims threatens our republic and the future of the planet, according to a statement on his campaign website.
“We’re building a movement to mount an all-out attack on corruption in Washington — starting with President Donald Trump and Georgia Senator David Perdue,” the statement reads. “I believe we are all called to stand up to the abuse of power. And when we stand up together, we will win.”
Before the 2017 election, Ossoff faced a series of attacks from a Republican-funded super PAC that focused on an incident during Ossoff’s time at Georgetown when Ossoff mocked the university’s alcohol policy and sang a rendition of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” changing the lyrics to “Georgetown Girl.”
Hrithik Saride (NHS ’22), an Atlanta native and former volunteer for Ossoff’s 2017 congressional campaign, expressed his strong support of Ossoff’s candidacy, while acknowledging that Ossoff’s chances of winning seemed slim.
“[I’m] extremely excited to see Jon contest the position of Georgia Senator and I really do hope to engage in any way possible to help with this campaign run as well,” Saride wrote in an email to The Hoya. “However, from the viewpoint of [a] Georgia resident, Ossoff really is fighting an uphill battle as he goes against incumbent David Perdue.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), civil rights leader and longtime Georgia congressman, announced his support for Ossoff’s Senate bid. Ossoff plans to launch a campaign to increase voter registration with Lewis later this month, according to Politico.
Former Chief of Staff for the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service Hanna Hope led a three-day student trip organized by GU Politics to observe the 2017 special election campaign in Georgia. The six students on the trip attended a debate between the top five Republican contenders for the party nomination and also met with Ossoff.
During his time at Georgetown, Ossoff was roommates with Michael Tyler (SFS ’11), according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tyler presently serves as the chief of staff to chair of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez.
One of the stated goals of Ossoff’s campaign is to help Democrats gain control of the Senate. Republicans currently hold a 53-45 majority in the Senate, with two Independents caucusing with the Democrats. In order to flip control of the Senate, Democrats must gain at least three seats if they win control of the presidency and vice presidency. Many political analysts have listed Georgia and its two special elections as elections predicted to be some of the most competitive during the 2020 election cycle, according to NBC News.
While Georgetown University College Democrats does not support any particular candidate in primary elections, the group acknowledges the importance and competitiveness of the race, according to GUCD Chair Rebecca Hollister (COL ’21).
“We of course wish all the Democratic candidates the best, as our goal is to win the election in order to help achieve a Senate majority,” Hollister wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We will put our full weight of support behind whoever wins the primary as we work to elect a Democrat to Senate in Georgia–a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in two decades.”