NY Times Works Its Ossoff Pushing Georgia Democrat in Special Election

April 7th, 2017 3:33 PM

The Democrats’ mid-term election hope, the man who may turn the Trumpian tide, is Jon Ossoff, a young progressive candidate for the Georgia congressional seat vacated by Tom Price (now President Trump’s Secretary for Health and Human Services). Ossoff hopes to triumph in the open primary in Georgia’s congressional district to be held April 18, and he has the whole of the New York Times reporting staff solidly behind him.

In Wednesday’s edition, Trip Gabriel and Richard Fausset enthused, “Georgia’s Long-Silent Liberals Come Out for a Congressional Race.” The lament of Democrats trapped in conservative towns won’t get much sympathy from conservatives who routinely get harassed and have yard signs stolen in tolerant liberal enclaves.

The paper also conveniently skipped the controversy about Ossoff misrepresenting his national security credentials. Brent Scher at the Washington Free Beacon reported:

After claiming for months he had five years of experience as a congressional national security staffer with top-secret clearance, Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has now admitted that he had clearance for just five months.

Since Ossoff announced his campaign to fill the seat vacated by Tom Price earlier this year, he has leaned on his supposed five years as a "national security aide with top-secret clearance." The claim has been made in campaign ads, during campaign events, and even in his campaign announcement.

Ignoring that, the Times' Gabriel and Fausset got cozy with local “progressives” coming out of the shadows in Trumpland.

Jen Cox bit her tongue for years about her progressive views for fear of hurting her real estate business.

“I felt very concerned about talking about my politics in any way, shape or form,” said Ms. Cox, who lives and works in a Republican-heavy suburban milieu north of Atlanta, where people don’t confess to being Democrats until after a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio at a dinner party.

That changed with the election of President Trump. Once-shy liberals were jolted. Some joined women’s marches in January, and many here have become active in grass-roots groups, galvanized by a special election this month to fill a vacant House seat that has long been in Republican hands.

Ms. Cox co-founded the group PaveItBlue to mobilize volunteers to elect the leading Democrat in the race, Jon Ossoff. Within three weeks, 1,000 people joined.


If a Democrat were to win the seat -- once held by Newt Gingrich, and recently vacated by Tom Price, who joined Mr. Trump’s cabinet as secretary of health and human services -- it would not be because of the $4 million that has come into the Ossoff campaign, much of it from national donors. Rather, it would be thanks to volunteer brigades roused by Mr. Trump’s election, who are knocking on doors, making phone calls and writing personalized post cards to turn out voters.


Mr. Ossoff, 30, a documentary filmmaker and first-time candidate, is hoping for a knockout punch in the open primary on April 18. All candidates in the race appear on the same ballot. If Mr. Ossoff, the polling leader, can win more than 50 percent, it will eliminate a runoff. If the race goes to a second round, scheduled June 20, a Republican would be favored because of the party’s historic advantage.

Ms. Cox recalls insisting to Mr. Ossoff that he use lawn signs, even after campaign consultants had ruled them out, arguing that they have no effect. She got in Mr. Ossoff’s face -- literally, she says -- and told him lawn signs would show shy Democrats like her and her friends that they are not alone.

“If you want volunteer action and people working for you up in these red districts, you need to help us help you,” she recalls telling Mr. Ossoff.

Today, there are lots of Ossoff signs.

Must be nice to be able to hang yard signs without them being torn down by one’s tolerant political opponents.

The groups are adept at using social media. They have private Facebook groups, Slack channels to coordinate volunteers and email blasts headlined “If you only do one thing today.”


Professional campaign organizers, who are used to struggling to enlist volunteers, said they were witnessing something remarkable. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Amy Friedman, Mr. Ossoff’s field director, a veteran of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign in Iowa and Maryland.

The paper’s excitement began last month, with Richard Fausset and Jennifer Steinhauer seeing an “Anti-Trump Wave in Fight for Congress.” The reporters even boasted about where Ossoff’s old high school while striking its flattering “tone”:

It remains to be seen how Republican-leaning moderates will end up perceiving Mr. Ossoff here in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, a tony swath of golf courses, cul-de-sacs and pristine strip malls just north of Atlanta. Mr. Ossoff grew up in the district and attended Paideia, an Atlanta private school known for nurturing creativity and individualism, followed by ....

In an interview at his parents’ spacious suburban home this month, the boyish Mr. Ossoff, in a dark, narrow-cut suit, struck a serious tone focused on repairing the Affordable Care Act and on local economic issues.

More of the “underdog” act:

But Mr. Trump’s election has catalyzed liberal activists and given hope to a diffuse group whose underdog status is baked into its messaging: One organization is called Needles in a Haystack, while the Facebook page of another, the Liberal Moms of Roswell and Cobb, declares, “You’re not the only one.”

Meanwhile, Trump-style candidates got the usual mockery.

Another candidate, Bob Gray, a business executive and former councilman in the city of Johns Creek, has taken as his motto “America First. Conservative Always.” Mr. Gray appears to naturally share some of Mr. Trump’s populist, Master of the Universe vibe: He pulled up for a recent interview in a late-model convertible Jaguar XK with a license plate frame that said, “Follow me to Waffle House.”

Upshot section reporter Nate Cohn contributed an analysis on March 30, “Anti-Trump Test in Georgia.” The text box was encouraging: “Why Democrats and Jon Ossoff Have a Shot at a Georgia Upset.”

Tom Price left the House seat to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, and we won’t know who will replace him until April 18 at the earliest. The district hasn’t voted for a Democrat in decades, but that could soon change.

Cohn followed up on Thursday with “Democratic Turnout, Low in Off-Year Races, Appears on the Rise,” in which he concluded “The Democrats might be fixing their midterm turnout problem.”