Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

A theory behind Jon Ossoff’s early exit last night

Sixth District contender Jon Ossoff was the clear star at Thursday night’s annual fundraiser for the state Democratic party.

Held 48 hours after his first-place finish in the initial round of voting, Chairman DuBose Porter called the gathering at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta “the biggest crowd we’ve had in years.”

But after arriving late and being mobbed at his front row table, Ossoff had only a brief, three-minute stint in the spotlight. Said the rail-thin candidate:

“If you had told me, if you had told any of us – let’s be honest – just six weeks ago that we would get the kind of result we did on Tuesday, you wouldn’t have believed it…

“We are ready to go on and fight on to June 20. We had our biggest day of fundraising and our biggest day of volunteer sign-ups -- across the arc of the entire campaign – yesterday.”

And then Ossoff disappeared from view.

Now, he did have an appointment with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, but here’s another thought: The disappearing act allows Ossoff, who’s clearly running to the center, to say that he wasn’t in the room when that firebrand, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, rose to perform her job as the evening’s keynote speaker. Waters has made recent headlines by using the word “impeach” when discussing President Donald Trump.

An hour-and-a-half later, Rachel Maddow asked Ossoff whether he was a bellwether for the anti-Trump resistance. Said the candidate:

“The truth is I’m not entirely sure. There’s obviously a lot of national interest, national attention, folks looking for national implications.

And there are many in the community here who have deep concerns about the direction of things in Washington right now, and the administration. I share those concerns, and I speak to those concerns.


“But one of the reasons the campaign was able to perform so well earlier this week is that I’ve been working on building a coalition that unifies people around a vision for our local economic development and around shared values that unite people in the community.”

For a first-timer, Ossoff is a careful candidate. Notice how he resists mentioning Trump by name. “Community” is his favorite word. A friendly, inviting word.

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was also at the gathering. He referred to Republican Karen Handel, Ossoff’s opponent, as “a serial candidate” – more evidence that Democrats intend to follow up on GOP lines of attack used on Handel prior to Tuesday.




Timing is everything in politics. Next week, tens of thousands of members of the National Rifle Association will be in Atlanta. The highlight will be an address by Donald Trump, the first sitting president to speak at its convention since Ronald Reagan.

So it can’t be a coincidence that at their annual gathering on Thursday, Democrats gave their party’s highest award to Lucy McBath, an anti-gun violence crusader. McBath’s 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012 during an argument over loud music


Losing is tough, but David Abroms' top adviser does it with a certain pizzazz.

Joel Searby is the Florida-based consultant who ran Evan McMullin's doomed campaign for president last year and shepherded Abroms, the Republican newcomer who pumped $250,000 of his own money into a failed bid for Georgia's 6th District. Abroms received 1,637 votes on Tuesday, or .85 percent.

"Lessons for a loser" was the headline of Spears' devotional on the race. Here's a snippet:

I learned a lot about how to handle losing by playing sports growing up. In both victory and defeat, the key for me has always been to learn. To grow. To get better. You simply can’t guard against losing in elections. It’s a single winner game. But you can control what you do next. In politics, you can also control who you choose to work for.


I’ve been attacked from the left and the right the last 6 months for my work. Those attacks are sure to increase as I keep fighting for what I believe in. The center is a lonely place in professional American politics. I have, of course, made lots of mistakes running campaigns over the years. Some of them contributed to losses. I own those. They have real consequences for people and I take them very personally.


Republicans already worried about a lack of voter enthusiasm in the June 20 runoff for a suburban Atlanta seat are also concerned about another factor: June is a favorite month for vacation for many well-heeled conservatives in the district.

"We need to be stressing early voting because on June 20, a lot of people will be gone," said state Sen. Brandon Beach, who represents an Alpharetta-based district. "June is a vacation month for many of my constituents and we all need to come together and emphasize early voting."


This could dramatically increase early voting turnout in the bluest part of the 6th District.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.