Who is Jon Ossoff? Ten years ago, Ossoff, a Jewish native of Atlanta, Georgia, was an undergraduate student at Georgetown University. Five years ago, he was an aide to Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson. Now, the 30-year-old is a Democratic nominee for Congress in a special election in Georgia. He faces Republican opponent Karen Handel in a runoff election on June 20.
Ossoff just missed clinching an outright victory in Georgia’s April 18 primary. Despite running in a conservative district (and despite President Trump’s best efforts), he won more than 48% of the vote.
That set up a battle with Handel, in what is expected to be the most expensive House Congressional race of all time. Both sides have brought in outside money and star power – Jon Legend and Jackson Browne are among those that have donated to Ossoff’s campaign, while Jason Kander hit the campaign trail in early May.
Jon Ossoff’s Jewish background has become an important campaign issue. The candidate supports the left-leaning lobby J Street, and received their endorsement earlier this year. He has been attacked by Republicans for supporting “the dangerous Iran nuclear deal.”
In what may have been an attempt to bolster his pro-Israel credentials, Ossoff made a point of mentioning in his official campaign bio that he took a class with Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, while studying at Georgetown.
Many see this special election as a referendum on Trump’s first six months in office – and a Jon Ossoff win would be a significant rebuke of the President. Bernie Sanders declared that it is “imperative” that Ossoff defeat Handel.
Thomas Jonathan Ossoff is engaged to longtime girlfriend Alisha Kramer — he popped the question in May, in between campaign stops.
This story "Who is Jon Ossoff?" was written by Jeffrey Boxer.