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Jon Ossoff brings Democratic star power to Georgia Senate challenge

2019-09-10

Democrats scored a marquee recruiting win in their fight to retake the Senate in 2020 as rising star Jon Ossoff announced he will run for a seat in battleground Georgia.

The fresh-faced political newcomer, who energized Democrats with a near miss run for Congress in 2017, will challenge incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue in the Peach State as Democrats mount an uphill battle to grab back the upper chamber.

Georgia, I'm running for Senate.

Political corruption threatens our republic and the future of the planet.

The battle we *began* in Georgia in 2017 will be *won* in Georgia in 2020 when we win the White House and the Senate.

Chip in right now ?? https://t.co/LtaUi1qNNc pic.twitter.com/4BeC5f9jh2

Ossoff, 32, painted Perdue as the quintessential Washington insider who has fallen in line behind President Trump’s unpopular policies.

"Sen. David Perdue is a caricature of Washington corruption,” Ossoff said.

Ossoff launched his campaign by rolling out the endorsement of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the iconic civil rights leader whose imprimatur could help him lock up the all-important black vote.

Perdue wasted little time hitting back at Ossoff, branding him a prisoner of liberal national Democrats.

Three other candidates are already running for the Democratic nod and others may jump in.

Ossoff became a political star in 2017 when he raised millions from small donors nationwide in an effort to flip a deep red suburban Atlanta congressional district. He fell just short but another Democrat won the seat in 2018, signaling Democratic strength in suburbs populated by well-educated moderate voters.

Georgia’s other Senate seat will also be up for grabs next November in a special election forced by the planned retirement of GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson for health reasons.

That makes the state a potential Ground Zero in Democrats’ fight to take back the Senate from Republicans, who now hold a 53-47 lead. The GOP faces a tricky political map with some 22 incumbents facing reelection in 2020.

If Trump remains unpopular, it will be difficult to fend off Democrats in battleground states and even Republican strongholds like Georgia could be in play. The president beat Hillary Clinton by a slender 5% margin and demographic changes have given Democrats hope of flipping it in coming years.