While he received 48.1% of the vote and not the 50% threshold for an outright win, 30-year old political newcomer Jon Ossoff just pulled off quite a feat in a deep red Republican district that hasn’t seen a Democrat in Congress since Carter held office.
Going into last night, all the pundits kept mentioning how much money he’d raised, $8.3 million, and that if he couldn’t win with that, then Democrats are in deep trouble heading into 2018. But just because he raised an insane amount of money in a few months, I couldn’t help but wonder why they weren’t talking about how it was allocated. Candidates can raise all the funds in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win if those contributions are not allocated effectively. For example, I was part of a statewide campaign where a candidate put over $1 million of their own money into their campaign, and while we almost came in first place in the Primary, we came in last place in the General because we didn’t allocate resources appropriately.
Also, how much did Trump hurt Republicans yesterday? Tremendously. The leader on the GOP side, Karen Handel, received less than 20% of the vote, and she did distance herself more than her opponents going into yesterday’s election. According to the New York Times, "Ms. Handel, 55, has portrayed herself as a Trump supporter, though she was less fervent in her backing for him than were the other Republican candidates in the race, who adopted Mr. Trump’s catchphrases and style in an attempt to stand out." In an interview on New Day this morning, Handel mentioned that Trump called to congratulate her and she said she hopes he’ll come and campaign with her. We’ll see how that goes.
Thankfully, Ossoff’s team did allocate his millions effectively. The real test, though, is whether or not Democrats will do that almost always happens in Georgia Runoffs: we lose. Losing this runoff will be traumatic for Democrats. This is truly a bellwether election, and it’s one we cannot afford to lose. We jumped over the first hurdle, now we must vault to victory and work our Ossoffs!