‘Bring us together.’ Ossoff’s first runoff ad previews his strategy

Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Ossoff rallies supporters for a run-off against Republican candidate Sen. David Perdue, as they meet in Grant Park, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Ossoff rallies supporters for a run-off against Republican candidate Sen. David Perdue, as they meet in Grant Park, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Credit: John Amis

Credit: John Amis

The Democrat’s opening message in the Jan. 5 contest

Democrat Jon Ossoff served notice that his runoff campaign against U.S. Sen. David Perdue would focus on healthcare, the economy and infrastructure in a debut ad released Saturday.

With control of the U.S. Senate on the line, Ossoff’s 30-second ad highlights the same message he promoted during his general election campaign against Perdue, a first-term Republican and former Fortune 500 chief executive.

ExploreGeorgia’s twin January runoffs are set to determine control of Senate

Speaking directly to the camera, Ossoff doesn’t mention Perdue and it doesn’t overtly criticize Republicans. But it echoes his main line of attack against the incumbent, who he’s relentlessly accused of botching the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The path to recovery is clear. First, we listen to medical experts to control this virus. Then we shore up our economy with stronger support for small business and tax relief for working families,” said Ossoff, an investigative journalist.

“And it’s time for a historic infrastructure plan to get people back to work and invest in our future. We need leaders who bring us together to get this done.”

ExploreHow Georgia became an election battleground in 2020 - and 2021

Perdue spokesman John Burke tied Ossoff and Senate Democrats to the gridlock over a new round of coronavirus relief, which was bogged down in pre-election negotiations.

“Ossoff should put Georgians first and tell New York’s Chuck Schumer to stop blocking the additional COVID relief that Senator Perdue is fighting for,” he said.

The ad was released shortly after the networks projected Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, and it served as a reminder that the nation’s political attention will shift firmly to Georgia and the twin Jan. 5 runoffs for control of the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock emerged from a 20-candidate special election this week to fill the remaining two years of Johnny Isakson’s term. And the national networks projected Friday that Ossoff forced Perdue into overtime.

Both parties failed to win a majority in the Senate, but Democrats could gain control of the GOP-controlled chamber under Biden’s presidency if they capture both Republican-held seats.

The Senate candidates and their allies spent more than $200 million on TV and radio ads in the first phase of the race, and the nine-week runoff could set new spending records. In the other race, Warnock already debuted his first spot, a humorous ad that warns Georgians of the coming onslaught of negative attacks.

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