Republicans hit Jon Ossoff again over 'Han Solo' moment

A Republican super PAC hit Democrat Jon Ossoff again over his “Han Solo” moment, unveiling a second ad as part of a $1.1 million barrage to hamper his campaign for a conservative suburban Atlanta district.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by House GOP leaders, for the second time produced an ad featuring footage of Ossoff dressed as the Star Wars character while a member of a Georgetown University singing group.

Ossoff supporters sought to embrace the last Star Wars-themed attack ad and the candidate has tweeted pictures of himself across the Sixth District, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, with supporters in Han Solo gear. But this ad is a clear indication that Republicans believe the footage is working.

The odds are stacked deeply against Democrats in the 6th, a district that favored Donald Trump by only one point but also routinely elected Rep. Tom Price, who is now the president's health secretary, by huge margins. Several big-name Republicans are in the race, and they hope to deflate Ossoff’s numbers to guarantee an all-GOP runoff.

But Ossoff has quickly captured the imagination of Democrats hoping to notch an early victory against Trump in one of the first Congressional elections in the nation since the Republican became president.

The ad opens with Ossoff’s own ad, saying “Imagine you had 30 seconds to make a life or death decision.” Then it promptly switches to footage of him playing a drinking game with another Star Wars character.

"Would you really want this guy making those decisions for your family?" an incredulous-sounding narrator asks.

More: Outside forces are playing an out-sized role in Georgia's 6th District race

It also claims Ossoff "lied about his resume," a reference to his assertion that he worked for five years as a national security staffer who held top security clearances. Ossoff and his campaign said he was granted those privileges working for Rep. Hank Johnson after his 2006 election. The GOP super PAC said he's claiming time spent as a junior staffer as part of that calculation.

In a statement, Johnson called the claims "absurd" and said Ossoff "worked on such sensitive programs that he received a top secret security clearance from the Department of Defense."

"Washington political operatives are coming into Georgia to spread false personal attacks – it’s what the American people are sick and tired of," Johnson added.

Hardly known in Georgia political circles until January, Ossoff has shaken up the wide-open race to succeed Price. The field includes 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two independents - all who will be on the same April 18 ballot. The top two finishers, regardless of party, will square off in a June 20 runoff.

Ossoff's campaign claims roughly $3 million in donations in about two months, which he has used to finance a trio of his own ads. He has racked up celebrity support and a string of big-name endorsements. And national Democrats are pouring staff and resources into his race.

Republican candidates aren't sitting still. This week, several of the highest-profile GOP candidates debuted their own ads.

We’ve seen braying donkeys, harrumphing elephantsmuck shovelers and an ad featuring a Trump supporter in a swamp wielding a diesel-powered, industrial strength water pump. Another candidate unveiled a slogan meant to worm into Sixth District voters' minds: "Take the Hill, Hill."

More: Newcomer with war chest gives Democrats hope in Georgia’s 6th District

Here’s the script:

JON OSSOFF: Imagine you had 30 seconds to make a life or death decision…

ANNCR: Would you really want THIS GUY making those decisions for your family?

JON OSSOFF: I’m Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon. 

ANNCR: Jon Ossoff lied about his resume. And at a time where America needs serious, honest leadership, Jon Ossoff fails the test.

Not honest.

Not serious.

Not ready.

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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.