Jon Ossoff, the 30-year-old Democrat candidate for Georgia’s special election runoff this coming Tuesday, reported having nine times as many donors from California than from Georgia in the past two months.
Between March 29 and May 31, Ossoff reported 7,218 donations from California and only 808 donations from Georgia, The Mercury News reported. This means he took 8.9 times as many gifts from the Golden State. In the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area alone, Ossoff reported receiving 3,063 donations in the same period, nearly four times his Georgia total.
These are only the donations he is required by law to report, and do not include gifts from people who contributed less than $200 overall.
In terms of the dollar amounts, Ossoff took at least $456,296.03 from California donors, compared to $228,474.44 from supporters in Georgia. The Bay Area alone contributed $220,532.10, less than $8,000 shy of the Georgia total.
Ossoff is running for Georgia’s 6th congressional district (which includes northern suburbs of Atlanta), to replace Tom Price, who became President Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.
Ossoff won a temporary victory on April 18, defeating a crowded field of Republicans. But since he only took 48.1 percent of the vote, just shy of 50 percent plus one, the race went to a runoff this coming Tuesday.
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel took a distant second place in April, winning 19.8 percent of the vote, despite being outspent by a nearly 20-to-1 margin. After the election, President Donald Trump tweeted, “It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.” Unlike Handel, Ossoff does not even live in the district.
The fundraising totals underscore Trump’s “Hollywood vs. Georgia” characterization. In total, Ossoff’s campaign raised $15 million between March 29 and May 31, for a fundraising total of $23 million, making this the most expensive House race in American history.
Handel has raised a mere $4 million, but her poll numbers have been steadily on the uptick. By May 23, Ossoff’s lead had fallen to 7 percent. A SurveyUSA poll had them tied neck-and-neck at 47 percent last week.
The congressional district is as red as they come, but voted more heavily for Price than for Trump last November. Trump’s favorable rating in the SurveyUSA poll stood at 34 percent, with 47 percent reporting an unfavorable view of the president.
While some polls show Handel and Ossoff neck-and-neck, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten reported that Ossoff still has a lead going into Tuesday. According to Enten, the most reliable June polls gave Ossoff 51 percent of the vote, or 53 percent when undecided voters are taken into account.
This is significant because the polls before the April 18 election gave Ossoff an average of 42 percent, or 46 percent with undecideds taken into account. The polls underestimated the Democrat. Does that mean they are also underestimating his chances for Tuesday?
Most of the other candidates in April were Republicans, and Handel is likely to win the vast majority of their votes. Even so, s Enten argued that current polling has her taking between 80 and 85 percent of these votes, rather than the nearly 100 percent she needs to win the runoff.
After all, Handel lost two U.S. Senate primaries in 2010 and 2014.
Despite Ossoff’s incredible 6-to-1 fundraising advantage, the race will be a nail-biter. If he does indeed win, this Democrat will have California donors to thank, almost more than Georgia voters. Who are his true constituents? Follow the money.