Jon Ossoff Leaning Toward Senate Run In Georgia

The Democrat grabbed national attention when he ran in the 2017 special election for Georgia's 6th District — at the time the most expensive House race ever.

Jon Ossoff is leaning toward running for U.S. Senate in Georgia, which would give Democrats a candidate with significant fundraising power in 2020.

Ossoff’s plans were shared with HuffPost by a Democrat who had spoken to him in recent weeks, and were reported by BuzzFeed on Wednesday as well.

There are already three Democrats in the race to unseat Sen. David Perdue (R): former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and 2018 lieutenant governor candidate Sarah Riggs Amico.

But the political landscape in Georgia was shaken up on Wednesday, when Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced his resignation. The governor has the power to name a replacement, and a special election will take place in 2020 ― meaning there will be two Senate seats on the ballot next year.

Ossoff, a 32-year-old former congressional staffer, attracted national attention when he ran in the 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which became the most expensive House race in history (although it’s since been eclipsed). Ossoff also shattered fundraising records at the time and could tap into his large network for his 2020 Senate bid.

He lost to Republican Karen Handel, although he helped make the solidly red seat competitive and “produced probably the strongest Democratic turnout in an off-year election in at least a decade,” according to The New York Times.

The race also gave Democrats one of their first signs that President Donald Trump was hurting the GOP in suburban districts ― which then played out in the 2018 election as well.

But Ossoff’s race was also widely watched for what went wrong. Democrats nationwide threw their support ― and money ― to Ossoff, which made it easier for the GOP to portray him as a puppet for party leaders in Washington. Although he grew up in the 6th District, he was living just outside it at the time. And many progressives believed his traditional, centrist campaign and message did him in, reflecting a longtime reluctance of the party to endorse outspoken progressives as general election candidates.

Democrats in the state now have to consider whether to take on a sitting senator, or challenge someone who will likely have a shorter track record. Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the gubernatorial race in 2018, ruled out running on Wednesday. But with two seats open, other big names could emerge in the coming weeks.