Some candidates stand on their own and speak for themselves, others don’t–how is that a winning strategy?
By Jonathan Grant
Jon Ossoff’s campaign unveiled a new ad today touting Rep. John Lewis’s endorsement in Ossoff’s quest to unseat Georgia Sen. David Perdue. Much of the footage in his ad comes from Ossoff’s failed 2017 Sixth District Congressional campaign, when Ossoff used Lewis’s endorsement and a wad of cash to bull his way to the front of line, freezing out other Democrats. That. Did. Not. End. Well. Actually, it didn’t start well, either, but that’s another story.
Ossoff’s heavy reliance on Lewis raises questions about his Senate campaign, like why isn’t he speaking for himself? And what does the candidate have to say?
Ossoff has tried hard to paint himself as the inevitable Democratic nominee, and says as little as possible, although he has promised to fight corruption (although he wasn’t a big fan of impeachment). During debates, he tends to avoid answering questions, although he’s come out in opposition to the Green New Deal. His top primary opponent, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, sees a weakness. She’s currently conducting an online poll about the Green New Deal. Monday, she released a video highlighting Ossoff’s less-than-progressive stance.
Was this the Democratic Debate?
It's important that we elect the right Democrat who will beat David Perdue in November. Because of my experience and commitment to core Democratic values, I am that person. #gapol #TeamTomlinson pic.twitter.com/kCSLysXu3d
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) May 4, 2020
Tomlinson countered Ossoff’s most recent ad with one featuring a portrait gallery of prominent Georgians who support her, notably former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, and Hank Aaron. This is her strong suit. She sells herself as a stronger statewide candidate than the metro-centric Ossoff, and she has receipts: Elected officials, civil rights figures, and civic leaders from across Georgia back her effort. Today she announced an endorsement from veteran Coastal Georgia legislator Al Williams. This points to a glaring disparity: Tomlinson has more endorsements than the other six Democrats in the race combined, and more than twice as many as Ossoff—who has a thin political resume, having never held office. Most of his are a direct result of his relationship with Lewis and Rep. Hank Johnson. (Ossoff was a high school intern for Lewis and a former staffer for Johnson). Take a look at Tomlinson’s response ad, released this afternoon:
Leadership for Extraordinary Times
NEW Tomlinson TV ad featuring civil rights icons and justice warriors Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, Hank Aaron, and more! Watch below and share. #gapol #gasen #TeamTomlinson pic.twitter.com/lPpjcN0k9Q
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) May 5, 2020
However, if you really want to compare messaging head to head, look at Ossoff’s (at bottom) and one Tomlinson released last week. One candidate speaks for herself. The other doesn’t. And that speaks volumes.
— Teresa Tomlinson (@teresatomlinson) April 27, 2020
John Lewis speaks for Ossoff
Big day for the campaign — We're up statewide with our second TV ad, featuring Congressman John Lewis.
Congressman Lewis is urging Georgia voters to turn out in force and "send Donald Trump a message he will never forget!" pic.twitter.com/B8uI161qxz
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) May 5, 2020
Disclosure: I endorse Teresa Tomlinson, but I’m not making a video about it.
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