Missed it by that much. If Jon Ossoff, the documentary filmmaker running for Tom Price’s open seat in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, got a vote for every word written about him in the past few weeks, he could probably have been elected president—if only he were old enough to run. If the 30-year-old Democrat had just one vote for every $87 spent by his campaign—which raised $8.3 million for a seat where the last Democratic candidate spent only $346—he would now be on his way to Washington. Instead, Ossoff, who got 48.1 percent yesterday in the district’s “jungle primary”—pitting 18 candidates, regardless of party affiliation, into the same contest—now faces a runoff against former secretary of state Karen Handel on June 20.
“Electing a Democrat to replace Price would be a CRUSHING blow to Trump,” said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which mostly sat out James Thompson’s race in Kansas a week earlier but poured money and troops into the Georgia contest. Daily Kos, whose members donated over $1 million to Ossoff’s campaign, proclaimed that “flipping this seat from red to blue would send shockwaves through Congress.” The New Yorker gushed over Ossoff’s “Kennedy-ish features and…Obama-like manner of speaking,” while New York magazine put the young Georgian on its cover. MSNBC dubbed Ossoff “an unlikely hero” who has become “the face of the resistance.”
From the moment he launched his long-shot bid with an invitation to “Make Trump Furious,” Ossoff tapped a gusher of discontent that saw him endorsed by everyone from Representative John Lewis (whom Ossoff interned with in high school) and Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams to celebrities Debra Messing and George Takei. Nancy Pelosi hosted a fund-raiser for him at DNC headquarters. Actor Samuel L. Jackson cut a radio ad which, though not mentioning Ossoff by name, urged listeners “to channel the great vengeance and furious anger we have for this administration into votes at the ballot box.” Alyssa Milano and Christopher Gorham, in Georgia filming a pilot for CW, tweeted an offer to personally drive Ossoff voters to the polls.
What’s not to like? Especially since Trump rose spectacularly to the bait, not only attacking Ossoff on Twitter but taping a fund-raising appeal to supporters warning “only you can stop the super liberal Democrats.” Though neither Handel nor any of the other 10 Republicans running in the primary spent anything like Ossoff, the GOP’s Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC put $2.2 million into ads attacking him, including one featuring the shocking revelation that as a student Ossoff once dressed up as Han Solo—and even sang in a Georgetown a capella group!