Georgia Dem Boosted by Out-of-State Contributions

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Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is hauling in more than 60 percent of his itemized contributions from out-of-state donors, federal filings reveal.

Ossoff’s Senate campaign has pulled in $2.2 million in itemized contributions—donations from individuals who give $200 or more. Of that amount, $1.4 million, or 64 percent, is from out-of-state donors, according to a review of the campaign’s records. The 33-year-old is one of three Democrats vying for the nomination in the June 9 primary to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R.).

Ossoff is attempting to capture a Georgia Senate seat three years after shooting to Democratic stardom during his failed 2017 special election run in the state’s Sixth Congressional District. After sitting out the 2018 House race, he announced his 2020 Senate campaign’s launch with an in-studio MSNBC interview in New York City on Sept. 9.

Among Ossoff campaign donors from outside Georgia, Californians were the most generous, pushing $415,717 into the Ossoff campaign’s coffers. New Yorkers contributed $271,393. Ossoff has hauled in $804,594—or 36 percent of his itemized cash—from Georgians.

While Ossoff has considerably outraised Democratic opponents Teresa Tomlinson and Sarah Riggs Amico, he trails Tomlinson’s $1.4 million in in-state donations. Tomlinson, the former two-term mayor of Columbus, Ga., is the only one of the three who has held elected office.

Ossoff’s percentage of in-state donations marks an improvement from the Democrat’s 2017 race. In a special election that received national attention, Ossoff received more than 95 percent of his contributions from outside Georgia. In the final two months of the race, more than 97 percent of his campaign cash came from outside the state. He lost by four points to Republican Karen Handel, who was then defeated in 2018 by Democrat Lucy McBath.

Ossoff was unable to vote for himself in 2017 because he lived outside the sixth district, but the Atlanta resident will not encounter such a problem this time.

Ossoff’s Senate campaign reports $4.1 million in total receipts as of May 20, a major drop off from the $32 million Ossoff’s 2017 campaign raised in the most expensive House contest in U.S. history. The Democrat’s former campaign committee transferred $533,000 of that amount to the Senate bid.

Ossoff’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the majority of its donations coming from outside of Georgia.

In a rare occurrence, Georgia is holding dual Senate elections in 2020. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R.), appointed to the seat in January following the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R.), is running in a jungle election against fellow Republican Rep. Doug Collins, Democrat Raphael Warnock, and a bevy of other candidates.

But despite the possibility of picking up two seats in one red state, Democrats have given the race little attention and money compared to other 2020 races against incumbent Senate Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) tried but failed to recruit Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams to challenge Perdue after her closely watched 2018 bid for governor.

There has been little polling on the Senate race, but a survey last week showed Ossoff with 49 percent support from likely Democratic voters. If he receives 50 percent of the vote in next week’s primary, he will avoid an Aug. 11 runoff with the runner-up.