Republicans were served with another wake-up call as they received another reminder of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity when Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly missed winning the seat Republicans have held for the last 40 years.
Ossoff, 33, who was the top candidate in a congressional race in his state, received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat. He will now face a run-off on June 20, with the top Republican, perennial candidate Karen Handel.
The seat was vacated when Trump named Tom Price as his health secretary. The election that was seen as an early referendum on Trump, threw a scare into Republicans – as the president tweeted several times blasting Ossoff.
The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressioal race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2017
Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
However, what is concerning is that why do Congressional Republicans perceive Ossoff as a threat and why did Trump want him to lose so badly?
Ossoff was a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide before he jumped into the race. Considering Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in a special House election in Kansas last week, the Georgia result will be an immediate boon to Democratic group. It will essentially sober Republicans who are assessing whether to run in Trump’s first midterm election.
According to Real Clear Politics’ poll tracking, Ossoff was the presumed front-runner as he had support in the 41 percent to 45 percent range in the race for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. He also raised more than $8 million from party donors keen to send a message to Trump and the Republican Party at large ahead of the 2018 midterm elections – which will take place if Trump’s approval rating continues to go down.
The Georgia congressional seat is attracting so much attention also because it has been the Republicans’ since the late 1970s – and a candidate as strong as Ossoff is definitely a threat to them.
In addition, Ossoff has also used anti-Trump sentiment, with the slogan “Make Trump Furious,” to power his campaign, during which he also focused on the growing worry among Republicans that his victory could have a chilling effect on congressional races in future.
Another main reason of the young Democrat’s popularity is that he channeled his campaign very well. He attracted young voters who want to challenge Trump by getting support from Hollywood celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson, Chelsea Handler and Alyssa Milano.
For everyone in Georgia's 6th district, tomorrow is a big day. Pls get out and #VoteYourOssoff. Let's send a message tomorrow.— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) April 17, 2017
Jackson also became part of his election campaign by recording a one-minute radio ad urging people to go out and vote. “Remember what happened the last time people stayed home. We got stuck with Trump," he said.