MEMORANDUM: State of the Georgia Senate Race

MEMORANDUM

To: Interested Parties

From: Ellen Foster, Campaign Manager

Date: June 11, 2020

Subject: State of the Georgia Senate Race

Last night, investigative journalist and media executive Jon Ossoff defied expectations with a landslide outright victory in Georgia’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary, avoiding a widely expected runoff. 

Ossoff won 51% of the vote in a seven-way field with three well-known and well-financed competitors. Ossoff’s landslide victory reflected his strong support within the African-American community, his strong message focused on health care and Civil Rights, and his record leading a business that produces investigations of corruption, organized crime, and war crimes. 

Democratic momentum in Georgia is off the charts, with 940,000 Democratic votes counted so far, compared to 761,000 who voted in the 2016 Democratic presidential preference primary. A surge of Democratic enthusiasm resulted in an over 22% percent increase in turnout — and more votes are still coming in. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider the extraordinary and well-documented voter suppression many voters faced. Despite not receiving ballots, receiving incorrect ballots, and hours-long lines, Democrats still turned out to vote.

Meanwhile, over 700,000 new voters have been added to the rolls since the 2018 elections, which saw former Georgia Minority Leader Stacey Abrams’s historically close race, and experts report that these new voters trend younger and more diverse. And for the first time in modern Georgia history, Democrats outvoted Republicans in both the Presidential Preference Primary and in the U.S. Senate Primary, with 940,847 votes for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates to 873,167 votes for Republican Senate candidates — making up a 22 percent Democratic deficit from the 2016 primary.

Election YearDemocratic BallotsRepublican Ballots
2014 Primary Election35%64%
2016 Presidential Primary36%64%
2016 Primary Election38%60%
2018 Primary Election46%52%
2020 Presidential Primary/Primary Election* (U.S. Senate race)52%48%
*As of June 11 partial returns

As Ossoff’s support has risen, Senator David Perdue’s has taken a nosedive. First, a damning report by 11Alive News revealed that Perdue skipped a hearing on the health and safety of Georgia military families to meet behind closed doors with donors and lobbyists. Then, explosive reporting revealed he sells meetings and access to his home in exchange for corporate PAC checks. Most recently, Perdue was caught purchasing stock in a manufacturer of PPE on the same day as a Senate hearing on Coronavirus, and in March, his stock trading increased by 300% while writing the largest spending bill in American history. Under mounting pressure, Perdue then changed his story and admitted he had control over his portfolio by announcing he would stop trading individual stocks.

Public polling already shows this race as a tossup. Leaked internal GOP polling last month found Ossoff and Perdue statistically tied at 43% to 41%, and a public Civiqs poll last month found Ossoff with a 47% to 45% lead over Perdue. In every poll released in May, Perdue, the incumbent, never garnered more than 46 percent support. President Trump is also underwater in the state. Civiqs monthly tracking poll finds that Trump’s disapproval is tied for the highest it’s ever been since his election, with 52 percent of Georgians disapproving of the president, and only 44 percent approving. 

Ossoff also outraised Perdue in the pre-primary filing report by nearly $200,000. While Perdue is largely funded by corporate PACs, lobbyists, and special interest donors, Ossoff’s campaign is fueled by grassroots support. In the seven-week span between April 1 and May 20, Ossoff raised over $730,000 with an average contribution of only $44.

Ossoff’s fundraising has been fueled by a strong grassroots donor network, with over 40,000 donors, half of whom are new to Ossoff’s Senate campaign and hadn’t donated to his Congressional effort in 2017. This demonstrates the momentum of Ossoff’s candidacy and his strong ability to grow his base of supporters.

With a competitive jungle primary for Senate Seat B taking place on the same day as this General Election in November, we expect that Georgia will set national records for turnout and voter enthusiasm. Ossoff’s strong showing in this race, his grassroots momentum and support, and his relentless focus and message on rooting out corruption and ensuring equal justice and equal protection for all proves he is ready to take on and defeat Perdue, a weak incumbent, this November.

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