One of the biggest wastes of time, energy, and resources over the past few years was the 2017 special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Despite the fact that it would have had zero bearing on who controlled the House of Representatives, it was the most expensive House election in history, touted as a referendum on the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency. And the Democrat, Jon Ossoff, lost. And then, a year and a half later, a much less-well funded, less right-wing Democrat—Lucy McBath—won.
A more self-aware candidate would look at this and maybe think, “OK, maybe electoral politics aren’t for me.” Not Ossoff, apparently.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ossoff, despite not being able to win a House election in the Atlanta suburbs by running the campaign equivalent of a dry roast beef sandwich, is exploring another run for office at the state level, which could include a challenge to Republican Sen. David Perdue in 2020. We know this because he went to one of the most conservative counties in Georgia, hours from Atlanta, to channel his inner Beto O’Rourke.
Per the Journal-Constitution:
And so Ossoff’s town hall meeting in rural northeast Georgia took on special significance as a chance to test his appeal to an unfamiliar crowd. And he unveiled an urgent, populist message railing against the corporate influence in politics and a national economy “built on debt and consumption.”
“There’s more and more cynical politics. Student debt is skyrocketing. We’re still maintaining this unfathomably large empire that costs trillions of dollars,” said Ossoff. “We’re doing nothing for crumbling infrastructure at home. And we wonder why there’s so much anger.”
He added: “It’s because the people in charge are squandering the power and wealth entrusted in them to make our lives better.”
All of this is true! The only problem is that it’s coming from a guy who ran on the blandest, do-nothing platform possible. Remember his ad that looked like it was made by the Spectrum marketing team?
Ossoff told the Journal-Constitution that he’d “think really carefully” before deciding on another run, and to his credit, he recently floated former gubernatorial Stacey Abrams as a potential challenger to Perdue. And if Ossoff truly is traveling to all corners of the state out of a desire to help rebuild the Democratic Party and improve the chances of its candidates without running a bid for statewide office rooted in support for the status quo dressed up as change, more power to him!
But considering Ossoff’s recent history and how O’Rourke’s close-but-no-cigar Senate bid has given his name real weight in 2020 speculation—god, they even kind of look like each other—I remain skeptical that this statewide tour and the new vaguely lefty-sounding rhetoric he’s trying on isn’t a cynical attempt to build some support ahead of another campaign. It’d be nice to be proven wrong.