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‘We have to start now.’ Ossoff plans major voter registration rally

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff addresses the crowd during his election night party at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter Hotel on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff addresses the crowd during his election night party at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter Hotel on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff will launch what he calls the “biggest voter registration drive this state has ever seen” on Saturday with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, one of his most prominent supporters.

Ossoff, one of four Democrats challenging Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, also on Monday rolled out the endorsement of a second Democratic congressman: U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, whom he once worked for as a congressional aide.

The former 6th District candidate promised to mobilize a vast "grassroots army" when he announced his campaign this month, and he's likely to use the Saturday rally at the MLK Recreation Center in Atlanta to call on the national Democratic party to ramp up investment in Georgia.

“There’s too much on the line,” he said at a climate change rally last week at the Georgia Capitol. “We have to start now. We cannot wait until next September to lace up our boots and start marching and knocking.”

Ossoff faces three other Democratic rivals in the quest to topple Perdue: Business executive Sarah Riggs Amico, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

But his rhetoric echoes another Georgia Democrat who has opted against a run: Stacey Abrams, who has used her narrow defeat in last year’s gubernatorial election to become one of the national party’s leading figures.

Abrams penned a memo this month saying it would be "malpractice" if national party operatives didn't pour money and resources into Georgia, where U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's impending resignation will open up a second 2020 Senate race.

Johnson, who was also an early supporter of Ossoff’s 2017 congressional bid, emphasized the Democrat’s “long-standing and strong presence in Georgia’s black community” and said he would work to help mobilize record turnout next year.

All four Democrats in the contest against Perdue are white, unnerving some party activists and strategists who worry about energizing the party's liberal base next year.

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