Nearly 200k donors help Jon Ossoff net record fundraising haul in Georgia special election

Democrat Jon Ossoff has raised more than $8.3 million for his campaign to represent suburban Atlanta in Congress, the most significant sign yet that the political newcomer has become a national symbol of the resistance to President Donald Trump.

Ossoff’s financial disclosure, to be released Thursday, shows he has $2.1 million on hand for the final stretch of the campaign. His contributions came from across the nation, including more than $1 million raised by the liberal advocacy site the Daily Kos. Sure to raise eyebrows in Georgia, however, is the campaign’s revelation that 95 percent of all of Ossoff’s donors are from out of state.

The fundraising haul is an astounding figure for a 30-year-old former congressional aide virtually unheard of in Georgia political circles before he jumped in the race to represent the state’s 6th District.

Meanwhile, former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel’s campaign announced it has raised $463,000 so far and has more than $183,000 in the bank with roughly two weeks until Election Day. Handel’s campaign said nearly 90 percent of its reported 831 individual donors are from Georgia. (A detailed list has yet to be made available on the Federal Election Commission’s website.)

Former state Sen. Judson Hill previously disclosed that he’s raised $473,000 and that he had $113,000 on hand.

Hill has actually already filed his pre-election report with the Federal Election Commission. That filing shows his former colleagues in the General Assembly contributed more than $17,000 to his campaign. That includes money from 18 members of the Senate. State-level lobbyists kicked in an additional $3,800.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich contributed $500.

But the real news in Hill’s report is that special-interest groups, specifically political action committees, contributed more than $47,000. While some of those were Georgia PACs, many are Washington-based.

Among other candidates, Republican Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan raised more than $25,000, according to his pre-election report, and he loaned himself an additional $7,700. Republican Keith Grawert, meanwhile, brought in $21,400 this period and raised more than $50,000 for the election, although that includes a $30,000 personal loan.

But Ossoff’s massive haul will almost certainly overshadow all other candidates, and not just in Georgia. His fundraising total is the most for a congressional candidate since Democrat Randy Perkins put nearly $9 million of his own money into in his bid for Florida’s 18th District in 2016, according to the campaign-finance website OpenSecrets.org.

It’s worth noting that Perkins lost that race to Republican Brian Mast, who raised just under $3 million.

Among Georgians, Ossoff’s take would appear to be a record. Former Democratic Congressman John Barrow raised more than $3.5 million when he lost his re-election bid in 2014. Republican Bob Barr raised $3.4 million in 2000 to defend his seat in Congress, although his Democratic opponent, Roger Kahn, raised $4 million.

Ossoff’s fundraising is not only nearly 18 times greater than several of his leading rivals, he is also far outpacing the entire cost of Georgia’s last open congressional election. Fundraising in that November race to represent west Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District totaled less than $3 million for 10 candidates.

Ossoff’s “Make Trump Furious” campaign has helped him emerge as the unquestioned leader in the 18-candidate field to represent a traditionally Republican stronghold. He’s captured celebrity endorsements, rattled Republican heavyweights and enlisted thousands of volunteers. He openly talks about winning the race outright in April to avoid a June 20 runoff.

“The campaign’s goal is not to get into a runoff, though we’ll be ready to fight a runoff if necessary,” Ossoff said at a recent campaign stop. “The campaign’s goal is to win this election outright on April 18.”

With polls showing Ossoff hovering around 40 percent of the vote, that seems unlikely. And the odds are daunting in the runoff. There are 11 Republicans in the April 18 contest, and they are feuding with each other for the same slice of voters and donors. But the full weight of the GOP is expected to be behind whichever Republican lands the runoff spot. The White House, too, has pledged to help; top Trump adviser Stephen Bannon is said to be closely monitoring the race.

The district — which spans from east Cobb County to north DeKalb County — has been in GOP hands since the 1970s, and losing it would be an epic embarrassment for Republicans and Trump’s new administration. Tom Price, who vacated the congressional seat to become Trump’s health secretary, routinely scored double-digit victories since first winning the seat in 2004. But the president barely carried the district in November, giving hope to Democrats eager to turn this race — considered the most competitive congressional race in the nation since Trump’s victory — into an early test of his presidency.

For now, Ossoff has far more financial firepower than his GOP rivals, and he has enough to keep his ad blitz on the airwaves into the summer.

Former Johns Creek Councilman Bob Gray and ex-state Sen. Dan Moody — both millionaire executives — were also expected to dip into their personal fortunes to foot some of their campaign bills.

But they are largely focused on competing with other Republicans — and not Ossoff — for what seems likely to be a sole spot in the runoff.

National Republican groups have rushed to try to fill that void, worried that the Democrat could hand them an early black eye.

The National Republican Congressional Committee last week launched an attack ad depicting Ossoff as a stooge of U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who will “try and stop our Republican majority that’s getting things done.”

That’s on top of a $2.2 million blitz by the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has at turns cast Ossoff as an inexperienced party boy with footage of him dressed as Han Solo from his Georgetown University days or a resume-inflater who improperly boasts about his experience as an adviser to Democratic U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson of Lithonia. Ossoff and his campaign have dismissed claims that he overstated his background as an aide who helped craft national security policy, and he released a timeline showing he also had five months of “top secret” clearance.

The Republican National Committee plans to add nine additional staffers to the six already fanned out across the district and to open a second office in the north Atlanta suburbs. Dozens of voter training sessions are in the works to counter the grass-roots army that’s mustered for Ossoff.

An overwhelming number of Ossoff’s contributors live far outside the 6th District but were drawn to his campaign. His contributions came from nearly 200,000 donors who gave an an average of $42.52.

Alan Berns of Boston called himself a “proud citizen of an obviously blue and very progressive state” who wanted to channel his money to candidates who needed it. He said he opposes both Trump and Price — which he said gave him more reason to donate to Ossoff.

“Ultimately, his victory would send an important message to our new president that there are certain values at our core that he should not mess with,” said Berns, a 70-year-old retiree.

Georgia Republicans are preparing to hunker down. Former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a potential GOP contender for governor, said an Ossoff victory could send a discomfiting signal to Republicans in Georgia and otherwise red territory.

“This guy gets in the runoff and every Democrat in America — if not the world — is going to send him money,” Westmoreland said on GPB’s “Political Rewind.” “They’re going to use that as a launching pad … to say, ‘See, he can do it.’ ”

Reader Comments 2

118 comments
Don Knight Sr.
Don Knight Sr.

Something is " fishy" about that guy. I have a bad gut feeling on this cat.

Leslie Johnson
Leslie Johnson

Most of his money is from Democrats who want to see Georgia turn blue.

Harry David Poole II
Harry David Poole II

When someone spends $9million to win a job that pays less than $200,000.......makes you wonder.............

Nancy Goodman Miller
Nancy Goodman Miller

This is a grassroots campaign! The average contribution is approximately $36. Surprisingly, thousands of women of all ages have stepped up to volunteer for this campaign through local Facebook social groups that began after the Presidential election. Things are changing in this district.

Jason Hopkins
Jason Hopkins

I would not call a vast majority of money raised outside the state (let alone the district) a "grassroots" campaign.

Nancy Goodman Miller
Nancy Goodman Miller

okay, then call it people who are sick of the status quo supporting change one small district at a time.

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

Still grassroots if the donors average contribution is $36.

Will Jones
Will Jones

Soros' master, Vatican banker Rothschilds' Bolsheviks, Ossoff's mishpochas, took over Russia the same way - to slaughter tens of millions of White Christians as they are taught every Saturday from birth here in Metro Atlanta is their duty - in Rabbinical Talmudism's false-Judaism. Zionism's inventor, Theodor Herzl, was an avowed and commensurately acccursed atheist. By Bible prophecy only America meets Isaiah's eight given signs for Zion, God's "Promised Land." (((Gog))), as prophesied, the Anti-Christ's hireling cult impaling Christ-killers, is attacking True Israel, America, "a nation of unwalled villages."

Will Jones
Will Jones

Try gaslighting some other Goy. America's God is God Almighty. Your god is Satan. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Lynne Vickers
Lynne Vickers

Georgia not going blue. We have too much common sense for that.

Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson

Out of state money, shouldn't be allowed for anyone.

Rocky Buldo
Rocky Buldo

Ironic the Republicans insisted on 1) the elimination of public financing. 2) Corporations are People 3) Cheered Citizens United said Money is "Free Speech ". Having colluded though 501 c4 "Non Profits" Laundering TAX exempt cash. The Guardian of Oligarchs Party is calling the system they demanded nefarious because "outsider money" could help democracy! Go figure!?

Will Jones
Will Jones

Ossoff's patroness Pelosi, is from a Mafia-front family in Baltimore. SF is also a Mob-run town.

Jeff Elrod
Jeff Elrod

don't forget the $50 i tossed his way!

Suzanne Chupp
Suzanne Chupp

He's getting money from Democrat big money donors. Wake up 6th District! He has not lived in ATL in years. He wants a permanent address in DC. He is aligned with the socialist left.

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Money man George Soros must really be wanting this. It ain't happening though. The far left has no place in Georgia.

Gwen Buice
Gwen Buice

Vote blue. In every election every time. Let's get rid of the redneck racist Deliverance reputation now! I love my state and it's time for the people who are haters to stop ruining our state. GO BLUE!

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

What a pathetic person you must be.....

chs12345
chs12345

Your hate for anything different from you is what helped Trump become your president. Keep up with the name calling and hate and the results will be the same as 2016 - gop holds House, Senate, WH, most governors, most state legislatures. We could not have done it without help from the progressives.

Liz Lea
Liz Lea

Go Blue! Never thought I would say this!

Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

There's a TV ad that says Nancy Pelosi gave him all that money

chs12345
chs12345

The far left is strongly backing him even though he has very limited life and work experience. 95% of his money comes from outside GA. He will be strongly beholden to those outside donors. Karen Handle worked wonders as the head of the Fulton county commissioners. Check the backgrounds rather than just the paid for TV ads before voting.

Amy Huffine
Amy Huffine

Oh well if it was on a TV ad, then it must be true. #ShamWow

Danielle Joyce
Danielle Joyce

Where is the money coming from for those attack adds? Bingo!

Mariette Nicholas
Mariette Nicholas

He is bought and paid for by evil people. No telling what we will have to sacrifice for it! No thanks!

Amy Huffine
Amy Huffine

There are lots of nasty women in the 6th...

Jeff Elrod
Jeff Elrod

wonder what the $50 i donated to his campaign will get me.

Thomas Adams
Thomas Adams

Hillary raised a lot of money and had big support , still lost!! Hahaha!!!

Cam Lupiani
Cam Lupiani

True, I guess no one can complain about where the money comes from. But it is interesting that most of his war chest came from donors outside Georgia.

Suzanne Chupp
Suzanne Chupp

Exactly! So who will he really represent? You or the big money donors?

Danielle Joyce
Danielle Joyce

They aren't big money. They are ppl from out of state making small donations to get a Democrat in Congress because...... TRUMP!

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

Democrats are helping Democrats, regardless of location. We're fed up. Republicans just cannot fathom it, the working together stuff.

Jane Warrick
Jane Warrick

95% of Ossoff's money comes from out of state including $1 million from left wing Daily Kos...Read the article people. Keep the 6th RED.

Kelley A Peters
Kelley A Peters

From out of state but majority from individual donors...not like the Republican billionaire backed super pacs.

Doug Rogers
Doug Rogers

All of the money against him is from out of state. Turn Georgia blue

Jill Schonenberg Roth
Jill Schonenberg Roth

Exactly Kelley. Most of Ossoff's money is coming from individual donors-the average contribution is about $40. Meanwhile the Repubs are getting their money from PACs, lobbyists, and other politicians.

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

A Democrat plant that does not even live in Georgia... You can not find a home-grown Democrat to do the job.... You have to bring in an outsider to get a Democrat to run in Cobb county...

Parsa Behnia
Parsa Behnia

Born in Atlanta, Ossoff grew up in Northlake, an unincorporated community in Georgia's 6th congressional district.[6] Straight from Wikipedia. Don't lie when the truth is a 10 second Google

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

Parsa Behnia , Ossoff has not live in Georgia for over 13 yrs... His is a Democrat plant.

Rocky Buldo
Rocky Buldo

#Cult45. I hear he's a MOOOOSLIM lover.

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

Ossoff has not lived in Georgia in more than 13 yrs... He is a Democrat plant....

Darin Carter
Darin Carter

I have no idea where he's from or where he lives and don't care, but citing Wikipedia proves nothing.

Danielle Joyce
Danielle Joyce

He lives 1.2 miles from the 6th. Right by Emory while his long time girlfriend finishes her residency.

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

Danielle Joyce So he does not live in the 6th District Right ? Lives with long time girl friend.. Other wise know as , Common Law Wife.

Jill Schonenberg Roth
Jill Schonenberg Roth

He lives here now. About a mile south of the 6th. His parents live in the 6th and he lives about a mile south of it near Emory.

Parsa Behnia
Parsa Behnia

Hahaha I provide facts and it doesn't prove anything. Hahahahaha. I now truly know how Trump got elected. Hahahaha. And in case you "think" before you speak, no I didn't vote for Hillary. Hahahaha.

Parsa Behnia
Parsa Behnia

No no Mr. Earl. This is truly funny for me. Everyone crys foul. I provide facts yet they are still prove nothing. This is just truly comical to me.

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

13 yrs away and now he shows up looking to get elected.. Now that is funny.....Lives outside of the district even now..... Now that is funny.... Or he lives in his Moms basement in the district.. Where does he get his mail... A PO Box ? A Democrat Plant.. "Now that is funny I don't care who you are"...

Parsa Behnia
Parsa Behnia

That's because he went outside for school. He went to George Town then London school of economics. God forbid someone moves to get educated. Omg the travesty! Heaven forbid a man goes to northlake who was born here yet after he graduated highschool, he went and got himself educated at some of the most prestigious schools in the world. I lived in the 6th but I moved out for 5 years because I went to college. Am I not a true Georgian? All it takes is a Google search to learn. Educate yourself. Turn off the TV and propaganda news outlets. Educate yourself on every candidate. Be informed. This is why GA always been on the low end of education.

Trackbacks

  1. […] when he announced a candidacy with a simple slogan: Make Trump furious. It’s earned him a record fund-raising haul and a ton of attention from national media outlets intent on portraying the race as a referendum […]

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  2. […] campaign between March 30 and May 30 (which, astonishingly, was an even higher proportion than the 95 percent from his earlier reports). But it’s the exact opposite of the narrative Ossoff is using to woo 6th District […]

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