Jon Ossoff, 30, was until recently unknown to most Democrats even in metro Atlanta, but he entered the crowded race in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in January with endorsements from U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis and $250,000 in cash. He parlayed that into an unprecedented $8.3 million fundraising haul, with donations from across the country.
Ossoff’s interest in politics was first stirred as a 17-year-old student at the Paideia School when he read Lewis’ autobiography and was moved to ask the congressman for a job. That turned into an internship in the Atlanta Democrat’s Washington office. As a student at Georgetown University, Ossoff volunteered for Johnson’s 2006 campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Ossoff rose to become the deputy communications chief of the campaign, and after Johnson’s congressional victory, Ossoff worked as a legislative aide to the new congressman.
After leaving Johnson’s office, Ossoff — who also is a graduate of the London School of Economics — joined a filmmaking firm, and the topics of his documentaries include corrupt judges in Ghana and atrocities that the Islamic State committed in Iraq.
The north DeKalb County native does not reside in the 6th Congressional District, living just south of it so his girlfriend of 12 years, an Emory University medical student, can walk to work. Members of Congress don’t have to live in their districts, but Ossoff has said he will move to the 6th after she graduates.
A financial disclosure shows Ossoff has more than $1.7 million in assets, including more than $250,000 in Apple stock and an additional $50,000 in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm. His England-based documentary company, Insight TWI, is valued at more than $250,000. He also has a stake of at least $50,000 in NWC Partnership, a solar panel installation firm.