In the aftermath of the 2016 election, an interesting idea joined the nonstop news cycle surrounding Donald Trump's transition to president — there were millennials interested in running for office, and moreover, there appeared to be people willing to donate money to them to do so. It appears that Georgia's special election to fill Tom Price's congressional seat will be the first time this will be put to the test. The race includes 18 candidates, but Jon Ossoff, a millennial Democrat and Georgia native, has become the race's breakout star.
When it comes to undoing corruption, the 30-year-old Ossoff already has the credentials — most recently, he's worked as the owner of a documentary organization that investigates corruption and abuse of power. Now he's looking to "flip" the Sixth Congressional District in the northern Atlanta suburbs, and despite being considered a long-shot candidate in a formerly dark-red district who's running against 11 Republicans, Ossoff apparently has a good chance of winning.
If Trump tweets are any indication of successfully getting to the president, Ossoff has already won. On the morning of April 17 (just a day prior to the special election), the president alluded to Ossoff in a tweet and said the "Liberal Democrat" in Georgia "wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes".
There are, of course, a number of factors behind Ossoff's rise to the top of the polls in the sixth congressional district, not the least of which being that Trump performed very poorly in the district, and that Republican candidates in the race are highlighting intra-party division by blasting each other rather than their Democratic opponents.
Greg Bluestein, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, told CNN that while Ossoff's chances at victory are still slim, his rise itself is evidence of how the "Trump effect" has trickled down to local politics and infiltrated what was once a safely red district:
We already knew that Republicans in swing House districts in 2018 would have to play defense on Trump. But this district was anything but a swing district — just months ago it was considered the safest of safe GOP seats. Mitt Romney and John McCain won it by overwhelming margins in 2012 and 2008, and it's so red that many Democrats didn't even stand for legislative seats or local offices in November.
Ossoff has said he wants to "Make Trump Furious," and with his high poll numbers, Republican in-fighting, and the president taking to his favorite platform to make baseless claims about him, it appears he's doing just that. Whether he wins, if the race goes to a run-off (as is likely), or if he loses outright, Ossoff's surprising rise to the top of the race in the district proves that millennial Democratic challengers are making serious waves.