Georgetown Alumnus Jon Ossoff won 48.1% of the vote in Tuesday’s highly contested race for a Georgia seat in the House of Representatives against a field of 17 Republican candidates. Falling short of a majority win, Ossoff will advance to a runoff election in June along with Republican frontrunner Karen Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State, who received 19.8% of the vote.
The seat, previously held by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, has turned a typically overlooked district to the forefront of the national political thought.
Many perceive Georgia’s sixth as an early referendum on President Trump. The Ossoff campaign encouraged resistance against the Trump administration, employing the slogan “Make Trump Furious.”
Trump has hardly remained silent on the matter. In typical style, he has taken to Twitter to share his reaction to the election. At one point, Trump attempted to increase Republican turnout by divulging that Ossoff lives outside of Georgia’s sixth district. Another tweet, posted on the day of the election, stated, “Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress.”
Ossoff has capitalized on national attention surrounding the race. Hoping to for his early April win, Ossoff raised $8.3 million in campaign contributions.. However, these contributions do not necessarily indicate Ossoff’s popularity in the sixth, as the campaign admits that 95% of this sum came from out-of-state donors.
In comparison, Republican frontrunners Karen Handel and Judson Hill revealed their campaigns had raised a combined total of less than $1 million in advance of Tuesday’s election. Ossoff’s early success may serve as a wake-up call to Republicans, who will need to rally around Handel if she is to succeed in the runoff election.
With a former-Hoya leading in the polls, it is of no surprise that the national spirit of activism that has been feeding the race has reached Georgetown’s campus. The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service sponsored a trip for six students to visit Georgia and observe the various campaigns. Students visited with candidates on both sides of the aisle, including Judson Hill and Jon Ossoff.
Other Georgetown students have weighed in on their preferred candidates, participating in campaigns even from afar. In March, members of the Georgetown University College Democrats board hosted a phone bank in support of Ossoff, endorsing him as a candidate who “stands from strong progressive values and holding Trump accountable.”
The runoff election is scheduled to take place on June 20. Given the strength of both candidates, anything could happen in the next two months. While President Trump is already hailing Ossoff’s failure to obtain a majority of the votes as a “BIG ‘R’ win,” a Republican victory in Georgia is anything but certain.