My skin isn’t thick enough to endure criticism trailblazers like Harris, Pelosi, Gandhi, Meir, and Thatcher have had to suffer; but I have been inspired to follow in their footsteps, in my own ways. As Harris told Marie Claire magazine, “I want [young] women to know, you are powerful and your voice matters." Amen, Sisters. Amen.
Google “Jon Ossoff” and the first thing you might see is an ad funded by the Republican National Committee calling Ossoff “A Corrupt Democrat” and part of a “Radical Left-Wing Takeover”. Ossoff’s opponent in the upcoming Georgia U.S. Senate run-off, Incumbent Senator David Perdue (R) claims Ossoff (D) is a socialist. That charge earns a “pants on fire rating” from Politifact (meaning it’s clearly a lie).
TMM is trying to help campaign-weary Georgia voters and well-meaning volunteers sort out fact from fiction. With control of the Senate at stake, no surprise both Democrats and Republicans are deploying expansive ground games and hundreds of millions of dollars for ads supporting their candidates – while engaging in some good old-fashioned fear-mongering.
TMM is profiling all four Senate candidates battling in Georgia’s January 5th run-off. We’ve published our findings on incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) and her challenger, Raphael Warnock (D), as well as Perdue. Today we profile Perdue’s opponent, Ossoff.
- Born in Atlanta, Georgia to Jewish family.
- BS degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, 2009; Master’s degree from London School of Economics, 2013.
- CEO of Insight TWI, London-based investigative television production company creating documentaries about corruption in foreign countries, since 2013.
- As high-school student, interned for civil rights leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) (Wikipedia).
- National security staffer and aide to Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), 5 years (Fox News).
- Democratic nominee in 2017’s historically-expensive (over $55 million) special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s seat; lost in run-off with Republican Karen Handel (48.2% of votes to Handel’s 51.8%) (Wikipedia).
As NBC News explains, much has changed in three short years since Ossoff’s loss: his campaign experience, changing demographics, and Biden’s Georgia victory, winning the 6th District by 11 points.
Positions on Important Issues
- According to The New Yorker (2017), has taken “progressive positions on women’s issues and health care” and “moderate stances on jobs and security”.
- Like opponent Perdue, motivated to run for office by excessive government spending (Fox News). Claims $16 billion in duplicate programs can be cut; Politifact rates claim as “mostly true”.
WSB TV, Cox Media’s Atlanta affiliate, reports Ossoff’s positions on:
Healthcare – Supports public health insurance option; strengthening Affordable Care Act; expanding and strengthening Medicaid; and protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
Jobs & Economy – Supports direct emergency pandemic relief for Americans; advocates lower taxes on all but wealthiest taxpayers; favors nationwide infrastructure upgrade to create jobs and economic prosperity.
Fact Checkers at Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, have diligently tried to help voters separate fact from fiction in attack ads. Their take on claims against Ossoff:
- Accusation: Endorsed by the Communist Party USA.
- Fact: This claim is false.
- Accusation: Paid by the Chinese Government.
- Fact: This claim is false.
- Accusation: Supports adding Washington, D.C. as America’s 51st state.
- Fact: This claim is true. Ossoff said “Residents in the nation’s capital pay taxes and yet are not fully represented in Congress or the U.S. Senate.”
- Accusation: Advocates defunding police.
- Fact: This claim is false. He opposes defunding police.
Key Factors to Watch
- Young Voters Critical
According to the Atlanta Journal-Sentinel, both Warnock and Ossoff are courting (and depending on) young voters to turn out again as they did in the primary election. Historically, young people are among the least likely to vote, especially with no presidential contest. Carolyn DeWitt, president of youth-focused Rock the Vote, counters: “Every youth generation is portrayed as if they’re apathetic. We know that’s very much not true.”
- Black Voters Essential
As Politico points out, this election is about more than young voter turnout, it’s also about race: “It’s pitting the politics of the Old South, often characterized by thinly-veiled racist rhetoric and maintenance of the predominantly white status quo, against the New South’s increasingly young and racially diverse constituency.” FiveThirtyEight reports 33% of Georgians are black (and Georgia Democrats disproportionately Black), while Republicans are overwhelmingly white. FiveThirtyEight explains endorsements of Representatives John Lewis and Hank Johnson bolstered Ossoff’s 2017 campaign – making him more popular with Black voters.
- White Voters Also Important
FiveThirtyEight asserts Democratic candidates must win approximately 30 percent of white votes in Georgia to carry the state — often where they fall short. Perhaps Biden’s appeals to GA voters in recent ads and his Georgia visit, linking his ability to deliver comprehensive COVID relief to votes for Democratic candidates, will resonate with (and motivate) white voters.
Georgia voters, whether you’re Black or White, young or old, rich or poor: PLEASE make a voting plan and vote on (or before) January 5. Early Voting continues through January 1.
Our country is depending on you.
Laurentine Nicoletto, TMM Staff
Images: Google Images
Ossoff campaigning: npr.org/gettyimages
Ossoff/young voter: wbir.com
Black voters: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images