That tension came to a head this month in what's likely the only televised Democratic Senate debate before the primary.
"People know you, but not enough to want to vote for you," Tomlinson said to Ossoff, bringing up a poll that showed him narrowly trailing Perdue.
He shot back: “Your campaign is so weak they didn’t even bother polling your name in that poll.”
>>More: Georgia Democratic U.S. Senate hopefuls make virus an issue
Tomlinson’s campaign also asserts that Stacey Abrams’ narrow defeat in 2018 showed that “winning Atlanta and its suburbs is not quite enough” and that her roots in middle Georgia would “help to expand the Abrams model and increase the likelihood of defeating Perdue.”
It's a snapshot of a strategy that could shape the final weeks of the race as the rivals jockey for a spot in a likely August runoff featuring the two top finishers. The scant public polling shows a high proportion of undecided voters, and the coronavirus pandemic has made the contest even more unpredictable.
Aside from the debate retort, Ossoff has largely ignored Tomlinson's jabs and focused his attention on Perdue, a former Fortune 500 chief executive with close ties to President Donald Trump. Amico has taken a similar approach, mostly refusing to assail her Democratic rivals.
Tomlinson, meanwhile, has directly questioned whether Ossoff would wilt in November. At a virtual meeting Monday with faith-based leaders, including former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and Bishop Reginald Jackson, Tomlinson again emphasized her experience.
“All candidates are not created politically equal. We absolutely must nominate someone who’s won elections and governed -- and governed well,” she said. “I’m the only candidate in the field who can bring in the voters we need from outside metro Atlanta.”
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