A Democratic contender to succeed Rep. Tom Price took another step Thursday toward consolidating his party's support by picking up the endorsement of House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams.
The Atlanta Democrat said she would support former congressional aide Jon Ossoff, one of a handful of Democrats in the race to represent Price's conservative suburban Atlanta district in a race that could become an early litmus test on Donald Trump.
"Through his work in the private sector, Jon has exposed crime, corruption and violations of human rights around the world," Abrams said. "As a senior Congressional staffer, he worked hard for Georgians. Now, more than ever, we need leaders with his skills and experience to stand up for families in our state.”
It is Ossoff's third major endorsement. He entered the race in January with support from Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson.
On paper, the district stretching from east Cobb to north DeKalb should be the GOP’s to lose. Price won a commanding victory for another two-year term in November with about 62 percent of the vote. But Hillary Clinton came within a whisker of winning the district, and Democrats hope they can consolidate behind a single candidate to land a spot in the runoff.
The field is likely to boast several big-name Republicans, including former Secretary of State Karen Handel, state Sen. Judson Hill, ex-state Sen. Dan Moody and Trump diversity guru Bruce Levell. But Democratic leaders are hoping partisans unite behind a single candidate to give them a chance to swipe a district that's been in GOP hands for decades.
On the Democratic side, former state Sen. Ron Slotin and ex-state Rep. Sally Harrell are also in the running. But Ossoff has commanded the lion’s share of the attention and fundraising dollars among the Democratic candidates.
The 29-year-old small business owner – he runs a firm specializing in anti-corruption investigations – told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s lined up more than $250,000 in financial commitments from supporters. And he’s raised more than $500,000 through the Daily Kos liberal advocacy site.
(A caveat: There’s no way to independently verify the numbers until the candidates Federal Elections Committee reports them.)