Jon Ossoff, Georgia Dem who spent huge and lost House race, weighs bid for newly open Senate seat

Jon Ossoff, who famously raised nearly $30 million in a failed Georgia congressional bid in 2017, reportedly is now considering a Senate run now that Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson announced he is stepping down.

Ossoff lost by 3.6 points to Republican Karen Handel in what turned into the most expensive House race of all time. Now he’s looking at the Senate, BuzzFeed News reported. So far, his only public statement has been in the form of well-wishes to Isakson.


“Thank you @SenatorIsakson for decades of service to Georgia and the country,” Ossoff tweeted Wednesday. “Alisha and I wish you and Dianne many years of peace and joy with your family in retirement.”

In 2017, Ossoff raised a total of $29,959,740 and had approximately $13,000 left over after the special election brawl. He ran on an anti-Trump platform, vowing to oppose him in Washington when he announced his House bid.

“Donald Trump is an embarrassment and a threat to prosperity and health, justice, and security in the Sixth District,” Ossoff said at the time. “I’m running to stop him and to fight for our community in Congress.”

With Isakson’s retirement, his interim replacement will be selected by Gov. Brian Kemp. Possible names include Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, state Senate Pro Tem Butch Miller, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Collins addressed Isakson’s retirement on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, saying, “Georgia has suffered an amazing loss.” When asked if he was interested in replacing him, Collins did not rule it out.

“You know, to be considered for that I’m humbled by folks who are considering that there's something that I would look at,” he said.

An election will be held in 2020 to determine Isakson’s ultimate successor. The Journal-Constitution identified a number of Democrats rumored to be potential candidates, in addition to Ossoff. They include Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church; Jason Carter, who was the runner-up for governor in 2014; and Michelle Nunn, who lost to David Perdue in the 2014 Senate race.

Perdue is also up for reelection in 2020.


One Democrat who has said she is not running is Stacy Abrams, who narrowly lost Georgia’s gubernatorial race to Gov. Brian Kemp.

“Our thoughts are with Senator Isakson and his family. Leader Abrams' focus will not change: she will lead voter protection efforts in key states across the country, and make sure Democrats are successful in Georgia in 2020,” her spokesman said in a statement, which Abrams shared on Twitter. “While she will not be a candidate herself, she is committed to helping Democratic candidates win both Senate races next year.”