Today, all eyes are on a 30-year-old man in Georgia.
The Democratic party, most noticeably it’s more progressive wings, have been getting pretty excited about this day for a while: today is the day that insurgent Democrat John Ossoff will win or lose a deep red congressional seat in the suburbs of Atlanta.
Ossoff, a 30-year-old political breakout, has been holding his own in advanced polling, helped by the fact that the voting pool is overflowing with Republicans to dilute the Conservative vote. Ossoff has consistently polled in the mid to low 40s, and he is hoping to bring that number up to 50 percent today to avoid a second run-off election. If he fails to do so, he will find it much harder to win against a single Republican opponent in the second election.
The Congressional seat is open because President Trump selected its previous Congressman Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services, leaving wide open a key red seat, prime for the taking.
Traditionally, the possibility of losing the party a Congressional seat is heavily considered when choosing nominees to fill federal positions, but unsurprisingly, Trump did not take this precaution, leading to a series of wide open seats during a time when he and the Republican party are viewed at an all-time low.
It is that national dissatisfaction that Ossof is capitalizing off of, as well as his relatively young age. The bulk of Ossof’s supporters have been millennials, a growing political group that we saw first fully engage during 2016 with the Bernie Sanders campaign.
That support has come nationwide in the form of millions of dollars in donations, as well as a strong network of support and campaigning on the ground in Georgia. Today, many elected Democrats are urging supporters in the district to go out and vote. Ossoff’s success or failure clearly means a great deal to a great number of people.
Ossoff’s success – and his possible victory – are made much more impressive by the fact that the seat hasn’t changed party hands since the 1970s.
Republicans have not been taking Ossoff’s success lightly, and have consistently attacked him on the basis of his age and maturity to try and turn voters away from his growing popularity. Even Trump has taken notice of the race and has issued two tweets on the subject, including this one:
Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
Ossoff himself doesn’t like to talk about his age, but has attempted to highlight his fresh perspective as a net good for the district.
“I’m trying to make the case to voters across the political spectrum that someone who brings a younger perspective — a fresher perspective…can change the culture in Washington more effectively than someone who has run for office 9 or 10 times.”
If Ossoff wins today, it will be a boost to the still-struggling Democratic party, and will indicate the level of success that the party may have in 2018 when the entire nation will likely be ready for a change.