ATLANTA — A key player in Democrats efforts to turn Georgia blue, U.S. Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff boasts his campaign as an "all-out attack on corruption” in Congress.
The 33-year-old media executive and investigative journalist has sworn off corporate PAC donations and called for a crackdown on corporate influence in Washington, D.C. In a candidate interview with CNHI, Ossoff condemned extremism — in both parties.
"This country needs healing — the last four years have been so divisive. I think that most Georgians recognize that there's too much corruption and there's too much extremism in both political parties,” he said. "Most Americans — most Georgians — see eye to eye on most issues. It's not like it's a mystery what problems need solving.”
This is not the first high-profile race for Ossoff, who narrowly lost a 2017 special election run for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Both stabs at office garnered national media attention as well as words from President Donald Trump.
Since announcing his candidacy, Ossoff has won endorsements of prominent Democrats including 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and a handful of senators who ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary such as Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
The young candidate said he vows to be a senator who in three words is, “accountable, accessible and honest.”
"I may not vote the way everyone wants me to every time,” he told CNHI. "But rest assured, I will be in your city and in your town to account for myself, to answer for my votes. I will listen to everyone in the state.”
A metro Atlanta native, Ossoff worked as a national security aide for Congressman Hank Johnson before he left to pursue a career in investigative journalism — a career path that spurred his image as a politician critical of politics.
Ossoff said Congress’ poor response to the pandemic only exposes health care inequalities that already existed. The candidate said lawmakers need to put a stop to price gouging by insurance and drug companies and build new medical facilities — especially in rural Georgia.
"We don't have enough health care workers and we don't have enough clinics and hospitals in Georgia,” he said. "These are actually easy problems to solve, if we can heal our divisions, come together and solve them.”
Ossoff is taking on incumbent Sen. David Perdue who, he said, has not put Georgians first with his choices. While Perdue is campaigning to expose what he calls the “liberal, socialist agenda” of Democrats, Ossoff said politicians need to stray from being so divisive.
“Who's going to try to heal these terrible divisions that have been inflicted on the American people?” he asked. "That's a message that I think resonates everywhere in Georgia.”
Ossoff out-raised his Republican opponent in the last quarter, according to campaign finance reports, and his campaign is reporting about $2.5 million cash-on-hand.
After a problem-riddled primary election, Ossoff said he is "very concerned" about ballot access and will be watching the November election "very closely."
"Whether or not you intend to vote for me, I'm going to do everything in my power to protect your voting rights," he said. "We need to pass a new voting rights act in memory of Congressman John Lewis to ensure that no American has to face six-hour lines to vote, no American is wrongly purged from the rolls and no American's ballot is thrown out unjustly."