New $1.1M ad blitz targets 'rubber-stamp' Ossoff in Georgia special election

A Republican super PAC is pumping another $1.1 million into a new round of attack ads in Georgia’s special election targeting Democrat Jon Ossoff, this time depicting him as a “rubber-stamp for a liberal agenda.”

It was the third ad released by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by House GOP leaders, and the latest sign that Republicans are serious about combating the 30-year-old former Congressional aide. All told, the organization has spent about $2.2 million on anti-Ossoff ads.

This time, the group steered clear of the Star Wars-themed attack ad that used footage from his time at a Georgetown University troupe. While those ads will continue to run, this focused on tried-and-true themes tying Ossoff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who hosted a fundraiser for him in Washington last week.

“The myth of Jon Ossoff is based upon one thing and one thing only: he’s had a 7.5 to 1 spending advantage,” said Courtney Alexander, a spokeswoman for the super PAC. “And today that changes.”

With more than $3 million in campaign cash, Ossoff has transformed what could have been a sleepy race to represent a solidly-conservative suburban Atlanta district into an all-out battle to win the most competitive Congressional contest since Donald Trump’s election.

His “Make Trump Furious” campaign has attracted national attention in what could be a first test of Trump’s popularity. And though he faces steep odds in the district, which stretches from east Cobb to north DeKalb, most Republicans now concede he could be the top vote-getter in the April 18 election.

Ossoff, meanwhile, has talked of clearing a majority of the vote and avoiding a June 20 runoff against the other top finalist. That seems unlikely, given the demographics of the district: It has been in GOP hands since Jimmy Carter’s era, although Trump only won it by 1 point in November.

Ossoff’s opponents have also increasingly targeted him as he rises in the few scattered polls to surface, with Republicans casting him as an inexperienced liberal and Democrats rejecting a “coronation” of a newcomer barely known in the district before he announced his candidacy.

The GOP super PAC said it’s stepping up its attacks because Ossoff has largely had the airwaves to himself. There are 11 Republicans in the race, but only a handful have enough campaign cash to launch ads, and those are focused largely on introducing themselves to the district.

Ossoff campaign spokesman Andy Phelan dismissed the attack.

"This smear attack is nothing more than dirty politics and shows why Georgia needs a strong, independent leader like Jon Ossoff in Congress to focus on creating jobs and growing Atlanta’s economy," he said.

Republican strategists say they have little hope of blocking him from landing in the runoff, but contend a sustained blitz could deal hamper his numbers into the summer contest - or force him to up his spending to counter the wave of negative attacks.

See the GOP ad for yourself:

And here’s the transcript:

Jon Ossoff tried to fool you by inflating his resume. Now, he’s using dishonest ads to hide his liberal values.

The truth is Nancy Pelosi’s friends are bankrolling Ossoff’s campaign because Ossoff will rubber-stamp her liberal agenda.

Higher taxes on the middle class. Job-destroying regulations. Billions in new spending.

Don’t be fooled. Liberal Jon Ossoff is a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.