WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernie Sanders said it was “imperative” to elect Jon Ossoff congressman from Atlanta’s suburbs, pushing back against the perception that Sanders was unenthusiastic about what is seen as a critical election targeting the policies of President Donald Trump.
“Let me be very clear,” Sen. Sanders, I-Vt., said Friday in a rare email to reporters from what was his presidential campaign account. “It is imperative that Jon Ossoff be elected congressman from Georgia’s 6th District and that Democrats take back the U.S. House. I applaud the energy and grassroots activism in Jon’s campaign. His victory would be an important step forward in fighting back against Trump’s reactionary agenda.”
Asked last week about Ossoff by the Washington Post, Sanders said of the candidate, “He’s not a progressive,” sparking a social media uproar, particularly among backers of primary opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ossoff got over 48 percent of the vote in an April 18 special election in a district that has skewed markedly Republican for decades. He now faces a run-off on June 20.
Ossoff’s surprisingly strong showing is attributed to Trump’s low popularity is in the district, even among Republicans. He has endeavored to strike a moderate tone to appeal to disaffected Republicans.