SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This year marks a major election year for Georgia. In addition to the presidential election, voters will decide not one, but two, US senate races.
Democrat Jon Ossoff is one of four vying to take on incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue. This week, Ossoff announced raising over $1 million in the final three months of 2019.
The Atlanta media executive narrowly lost a special election in 2017 for a house seat in metro Atlanta. The race drew national interest, giving him name recognition and fundraising ability in a Senate race some experts predict will be the most expensive in state history. His campaign for the US House broke national fundraising numbers.
Ossoff passed on running for that seat again in 2018, waiting instead for this Senate race.
“I’m passionate about exposing and rooting out corruption, and I’m passionate about holding people accountable when they abuse their power,” Ossoff said. “No matter your party, there is too much corruption and too much abuse of power in Washington right now.”
Ossoff plans to focus on issues he said Georgians agree on like healthcare, affordable housing, stronger gun background checks, and comprehensive immigration reform. On healthcare, he prefers expanding the public option for insurance but not Medicare-for-all.
“I reject the idea that we would force everyone onto a government plan. I think we should offer a public insurance plan that is optional if people want to take it that will compete with private insurance. If people want to keep private insurance, more power to them. I think we need to hold those insurance companies accountable though," Ossoff said. “On drug prices, we need to come down hard on pharmaceutical companies that are charging folks outrageous prices for life saving medicine.”
On immigration, Ossoff rejected the president’s suggestion that Democrats favor open borders. He said he supports a strong border while also allowing a path to citizenship for people coming here.
"We can uphold our ideals as the greatest country in the world with a reputation for welcoming people from around the world while at the same time ensuring that the interests of American citizens come first and that we know and control who’s coming in and out of the country,” Ossoff said.
Ossoff was also asked about his stance on gun control and legislation. He supports stronger background checks.
“If you are a responsible person without a criminal history, and you know how to safely own and operate a firearm, you should be permitted to do so. That is your constitutional right,” Ossoff said. “We can improve the laws on the books to ensure that those criteria are met so folks who are criminals, folks with serious mental health issues, or folks who are going to be reckless in the management of those weapons don’t have access to them."
Ossoff said he’ll focus on individual contributions through door-to-door campaigning. He vows to not take money from corporate groups or corporate political action committees.
"No matter your race, your income, your political party, I am ready to work for you, to enact sensible public policy that serves the public interest,” Ossoff said.
The other three candidates who announced a they’re running in the May primary are Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, and last year’s democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Sarah Riggs Amico.
WTOC plans to meet with all of them when they come to Savannah.
The winner of May’s primary faces Senator David Perdue in November.