Ossoff Spends Six Times More Than Opponent, Complains About ‘Money In Politics’

Jon Ossoff wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

Concluding the most expensive House race in history, Republican Karen Handel emerged victorious and became Georgia’s first woman elected to Congress. She defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price after he vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

Before the polls had closed, the ambitious 30-year-old made some ironic statements to NPR.

“The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money,” Ossoff stated. “There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads in air for months now.”

Ossoff continued on in the interview and expressed the need for campaign finance reform.

These statements are quite perplexing (and reek of hypocrisy) when you consider the money raised and spent by his team. Liberals across the country (mostly from California and New York) poured money into Ossoff’s campaign under the impression he’d actually win. The former Hill staffer raised more than $24 million – compared to just $4.5 million raised by Handel’s team.

That’s almost six times more than Handel.

Near the end stretch of the campaign, Ossoff netted nearly nine times as many donors from California than from his home state. Between March 29 and May 31, his campaign reported $456,296.03 from California – only $228,474.44 from Georgia.

Who benefited more from “money in politics?”

Those on the left have countered that Handel benefited more from outside spending. This is true – $18.2 million in outside spending went towards helping Handel. Democrat’s were assisted with $8 million from outside groups. However, when you consider all money combined (official campaign fundraising and outside spending), Ossoff still clearly came out ahead with millions more.

All in all, Ossoff’s team spent $25 million in Georgia’s 6th District and still finished worse than Hillary Clinton’s performance there in 2016.

 

Chris Matthews Doesn’t Get Jon Ossoff

There’s been a lot of Democrat and media handwringing in the aftermath of Tuesday’s special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, but one pundit is looking at defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff through a unique lens.

Chris Matthews admitted on his MSNBC show Wednesday that he simply doesn’t get Jon Ossoff. For Matthews, Ossoff’s muddled message was a sticking point.

“It seems to me that there was a lot of progressive hype about a guy who wasn’t running as a progressive, which is another interesting twist to this,” Matthews said. “He was running on basically, let’s get together and be normal or something.”

“I don’t know what the hell he was selling. He wasn’t selling much,” he said.

I can’t help but wonder if other Democrats thought the same thing. When we have leftists calling for Democrats to run further left in a district like GA-6, it’s painfully obvious that Ossoff’s message either didn’t make sense or just didn’t get out there for the public to hear.

It’s clear that Jon Ossoff has the potential to be a player on the political stage for a long time to come, for better or worse. His “I’ll be whatever you want me to be,” blank-canvas campaign may have won him some votes this time, but he’s going to have to make his message crystal clear to have staying power.

Later on in the segment, Matthews turns his confusion and mockery on his guests, calling them out for playing the game that both parties play: a win is a major triumph, while a defeat is abject disaster.

“If it went for Ossoff, you would be jumping up and down, saying how great a victory it was, right? Come on, you’re smiling. I know you’re smiling. I know how people play politics. If you lose, ‘oh, no, big thing.’ If you win, ‘yay!’ I mean, which is it?” Matthews asked.

Kudos to Chris Matthews for calling it like he sees it. We give him a hard time – and rightly so – for sticking blindly close to the talking points, but when he diverts from them, he can be a terrific pundit.

Check out the full video here:

Democrats Seethe After Georgia, But Still Don’t Get It

The New York Times ran a typically tone-deaf, if not revealing assessment of the state of their own Democrat Party following the special election loss in the Georgia runoff recently.

As is typical in the New York Times, the Democrats writing the piece embedded with half-truths like attributing Jon Ossoff’s fundraising to “small donations” but not mentioning that he set a record for out-of-state dollars with only 3.5% of his money coming from within the district. Nor do they mention that Ossoff was careful to never directly attack Trump, instead running as a moderate Republican to try to win the seat. That would seem to be an important point when trying to make the case that an Ossoff victory would have been an “emphatic statement about the weakness of the Republican Party under President Trump.”

But aside from the typical Times shenanigans that you just have to expect when you try sifting through their coverage, the article did touch on the “seething” dissent that is being experienced within the Democrat Party. More than one Democrat lawmaker expressed desire for new leadership, meaning they want to give Nancy Pelosi the boot:

Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, said the defeat was “frustrating” and urged a shake-up at the top of the party. “Our leadership owes us an explanation,” said Mr. Moulton, who voted against Ms. Pelosi in the last leadership election. “Personally, I think it’s time for new leadership in the party.”

What’s peculiar is that Moulton didn’t voice opposition to the new leadership of his party’s national committee. Tom Perez has been an abject disaster for the public relations of the party, suggesting that no pro-life Democrat need apply for any open position, and that cursing their way back to power was the best course of action.

And while we’re at it, the problem extends beyond Democrat lawmakers and party leaders. It’s also the messaging of the party’s public spokesmen in media. When a wealthy white man defeated female Hillary Clinton for the presidency, feminists were outraged. When female Karen Handel defeated a wealthy white man for a congressional seat, feminists were outraged. It belies the entire movement and Americans see it and tire of it.

And the Times itself is culpable. The day before they ran this article on Democrat seething, they ran Democrat author Jill Filipovic’s assertions that excused her party and blamed the voters:

“At what point is this not a failure of Democrats, but toxic, vindictive voters willing to elect hateful bigots?”

She really wrote that. Karen Handel is a “hateful bigot.” Why? Because she disagrees with Jill Filipovic? Because she’s a Republican? And there was more:

“Maybe instead of trying to convince hateful white people, Dems should cater to our base – ppl of color, women – to turn out. Cater to them.”

This is the kind of identity politics, the kind of divisive nonsense that has overtaken the Democrat Party. It’s become engrained in their DNA, and until there’s a purge of that bloodstream of hatred and dismissal of anyone who doesn’t think like them, it’s not likely to get better.

But don’t expect to see the Times cover that angle.

A Contrast in Victories

Two elections were won by Republicans last night.  Neither went the way people expected.

While everyone was fixated on Georgia last night, there was a near Hindenburg-level catastrophe for conservatives in South Carolina.  Republican Ralph Norman nearly suffered defeat at the hands of Democrat Archie Parnell in the 5th District.  He only squeaked past by 3 percent – that’s about 2,800 votes.  This is a district that former Rep. Mike Mulvaney won by more than 20 points last fall before resigning to become Director of the OMB under Trump.  Trump also won this district by a similar amount as Mulvaney and remains more popular in South Carolina than the nation as a whole.

Norman is a well-known conservative state legislator, hailing from the most populous part of the 5th District.  He won a close primary over his establishment-backed colleague Tommy Pope back in May, winning by only 200 votes.  Norman has a strong conservative record in office and promised to join the Freedom Caucus if he won.

To lose him in Congress would have been a disaster.

Even though the primary was close, no one thought the general election would be.  Norman led Parnell by double-digits in the sparse polling available.  Hence, the Left ignored Archie Parnell, because he seemed to have no chance.

While this race flew under the radar, the special election in Georgia’s 6th District drew over $50 million in spending.  The Georgia district was seemingly better turf for Democrats, because of Trump’s unpopularity and his previous electoral struggles there.  Republican Karen Handel initially struggled to gain her foothold.  So the Democrats went all in for Jon Ossoff, which may have been their biggest mistake.  Liberals drew national attention to Ossoff and trumpeted leftist ideology in a conservative district election.

San Francisco liberals wanted to nationalize the Georgia race in order to validate their agenda.  They nationalized it alright and obliterated Ossoff’s lead that he held at the beginning of June.  They ginned up their base, but they also awoke GOP voters afraid of Nancy Pelosi.  Even though those Republican voters are wary of Trump, they are still more afraid of Pelosi’s ilk, so they showed up in huge numbers for Karen Handel.

Back across state lines was the opposite story.  Because no outside attention was brought to bear in South Carolina, turnout was light.  Only about $2 million was spent.  Roughly in line with normal Congressional races.  The DCCC spent $300,000 while the NRCC didn’t even spend that much.

Unlike Jon Ossoff trying to knock on the doors of Trump voters in Georgia, the Democrat Archie Parnell focused on turning out his base.  According to Politico:

The DCCC’s money was aimed at turning out black voters, and much of the money went towards ads on African-American radio and canvassing in heavily black parts of the district. Other national Democrats, many with their eyes on an early 2020 primary state, also campaigned for Parnell, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Biden recorded a get-out-the-vote robocall.

Ralph Norman ran a good race, following a tough primary, and he is a strong favorite for re-election.  But there are other districts out there much more reachable for liberals, including the one I live in.  The Left only needs 24 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.  It’s more of a threat than many conservatives want to believe.

The Democrat base is already energized while Republicans are more placid.  You see this in the Congressional Generic Ballot, Right Track – Wrong Track, and Trump’s low approval numbers.  Last night we saw the Democrats underperform in Georgia with high turnout and overperform in South Carolina with low turnout.  This difference in turnout was whether GOP voters showed up.  When turnout dropped, it saw a disproportionately higher drop in GOP voters compared to Democrat voters.  It took massive spending and national attention to get conservatives to the polls in Georgia.  Without that in South Carolina, the river of votes nearly dried up for Ralph Norman.

The turnout variations from district to district is one reason we see some funny outcomes in wave elections.  People survive who you think are toast, because the base rallies to them when threatened.  But then others lose sleeper races even though they look safe.  Safety breeds complacency.  Safe districts thus lose their security.

It doesn’t matter how much some in Congressional Republican leadership are congratulating themselves today.  If GOP voters are lethargic in the future as they were in the 5th District, there could be storm clouds on the horizon for 2018.  GOP leadership needs to give conservative voters real conservative legislation to be excited about.  They need to give them a reason to show up, and they need to do it quickly – before next year’s campaigning starts apace.  There is no certainty that “Stop Pelosi” will always be enough.

The Sad Faces of CNN

The intrepid team at CNN poured a lot of resources into covering last night’s special election in Georgia’s 6th District–although it didn’t quite compare with the $40 million or so in out-of-state money that got poured into Jon Ossoff’s quixotic campaign to turn the reliably Republican district blue, thus cementing the narrative of a coming Democrat tsunami in 2018.  Still, you could tell that the anchors and analysts at the First Name in NewsTM had dug themselves in for a long night covering what they had insisted for weeks would be a very close, high stakes race, in which polling had put the Democrat newcomer as much as seven points ahead of Karen Handel, his Republican opponent.  All eyes were on Georgia–and CNN as well–and the excitement was so thick you could’ve spun it into a milkshake.

Then the results started coming in, and the truth slowly began to dawn on everyone.  Not only was Ossoff going to lose, Handel was going to whup him by a pretty decent margin.

Team CNN appeared none to pleased.

By the way, that’s  Gloria Berger, David Chalian, Dana Bash and Mark Preston.  At first I thought they were just having flashbacks to last November 8, when that New York Times ticker that had Hillary at a 95% chance of winning started pointing in the other direction.  But no–it was just the realization that another special election that they had framed as a referendum on the current administration didn’t quite turn out the way they wanted.  You’d think having gone 0-3 so far would have made them a bit leery about such things, but at this point they probably just can’t help themselves.  It hurts so good, come on Donald make it hurt so good.

Kirsten Powers, for her part, was more skeptical.  When tweets about her own less-than-thrilled voguing at Handel’s victory appeared, the CNN contributor jumped right into the fray:

https://twitter.com/KirstenPowers/status/877369900951621633

She also went after trolls for trying to push false memes:

https://twitter.com/KirstenPowers/status/877368293228781568

Well, Kirsten, it wouldn’t be the first time somebody was less than honest on Twitter–and you’re absolutely correct to point it out.  But this business about reporters being sad at Handel’s win?  It’s far from total nonsense, especially at CNN.  They’re long past the point of even trying to cover up their biases, and it’s no secret that they were salivating at the prospect of making Donald Trump look bad.  The problem is that, unpopular as Trump may be with some segments of the Republican electorate, everyone hates the media even more.  That your preferred candidate in GA6 went down in flames only illustrates the point.

Y’all might want to get that figured out.  Otherwise, I foresee a lot more sad faces in your future.

The Revisionism Against Karen Handel Did Not Work

The single greatest benefit to Karen Handel being the nominee in GA06 is that the voters already knew her. She had been Secretary of State, then had run for Governor and Senate. The voters knew her. The voters of the sixth supported her. Most importantly, the Democrats could not define her. Despite withering attacks from Jon Ossoff, the voters knew, for example, that Karen Handel had not spent state funds on a Lexus. That attack had already been made and rebutted several times. But Ossoff tried to make it again.

Likewise, the Planned Parenthood attack failed. Voters in the 6th actually heavily fund several pro-life organizations. It was not a smart attack to make, and it was withdrawn fairly quickly. It just emboldened Christian voters to turn out for Handel.

But there is one bit of revisionism now working its way through Twitter. The Democrats are now savaging Handel as a female Donald Trump. That one is laughable. First, they said Trump would hurt Handel, and now they are saying the sixth district voters voted for a female Trump.

The reality is that in the primary the candidates who most vocally stood shoulder to shoulder with Trump did worse than those who did not. Handel was well known as her own woman and not a huge Trump supporter. She had publicly expressed concern about the President before his election. But after the primary, both Handel and Trump’s team were able to find common ground to rally both Republicans who were skeptical of Trump and Republicans who fully supported Trump. There was an element of the GOP that rejected Handel as a rebuke to the President. But Handel still did better in the district than the President himself.

Just as notable, Jon Ossoff did worse than Hillary Clinton in the district.

The great difference between the two candidates is that Karen Handel was a known commodity who the voters chose in a primary. Ossoff was an unknown who won his primary largely by consolidating a national fundraising base in order to shut out the local Democrats people actually knew. That worked to his detriment.

Ten Things to Keep In Mind in GA06: Democrats Just Spent $30 Million for Another Moral Victory

In 2016, Rodney Stooksbury got 38.3% of the vote in Georgia’s sixth congressional district after spending only around $1000.00. Less than a year later, Democrats spent $30million to get only ten percent more of the vote and still lose.

There are some real issues here that the cheering and moralizing will overlook. Democrats will say it should not have been so close, but Republicans can counter than outspending the GOP and still losing is a big deal. It is. The Democrats can note that the GOP was winning this district by twenty points regularly and now are barely winning. That is true too.

But there are some fundamental problems for Democrats that they are going to overlook as they declare moral victory.

First, the national netroots rallied to Jon Ossoff, who was completely unknown to the sixth congressional district. There was a state senator from within the district who had a built in constituency that crossed party lines. But that guy got rejected for this unknown who lived out of the district.

Second, Ossoff did live out of the district and that cost him a number of votes. Democrats want you to believe this race was about healthcare and a referendum on Trump. The reality is more voters talked about Ossoff being a carpetbagger than they talked about where either candidate stood on the issues.

Third, Democrats got cocky. In the last two weeks of the race they started knocking on Republican doors to try to turn out the vote. Yes, they needed to persuade persuadable Republicans to vote Ossoff, but they did not just target those voters. They blanketed the district, knocking on the doors of Trump voters. They saturated the district with robocalls. They overbought television advertisements. They overexposed their candidate.

Fourth, Ossoff never defined himself. He went negative on Handel, who had won this district in three elections and who was known by 90% of the district. He could not define a woman who everyone already knew and mostly liked. But no one knew Ossoff and he got defined as a Pelosi loving carpetbagger.

That leads me to the fifth point, Nancy Pelosi is as much an anchor on the Democrats as Trump is on the GOP, if not more so. If Democrats want to win GOP seats, Pelosi needs to stay in the shadows.

Sixth, Ossoff was way overexposed. People got tired of his ads. They were on constantly. They never changed. People tuned them out over time. He never shook up the advertisements or rolled out new attacks or positive messages. Democrats saying this was about healthcare want to focus on his literally last two days where he talked about healthcare. He otherwise did not go deep on policy on the campaign trail.

Seventh, this was a Republican district that was won by a well known and liked Republican who was able to offset poor fundraising with high name ID and likability. Trump voters turned out for her and got her across the finish line.

Eighth, and this is the most important point, Ossoff ran as a moderate Republican. He never attacked the President and opposed universal healthcare. But the national noise about this campaign filtered in. Local voters and local news coverage knew the national progressive activists viewed an Ossoff win as another step towards the impeachment of President Trump. By being so vocal about the implications of this race, the Democrats fired up the GOP voters to defend Trump. It is a poor strategy moving forward for them. This is a district they need and they lost it.

Ninth, despite the rhetoric, you should know that this was one of the most civil races I have witnessed. Yes, there were crazies and bad things happened to both sides, but largely the candidates and campaigns were very civil to each other and the attacks were relatively mild.

Tenth, expect Karen Handel to be her own person in Congress. She will stand up to both sides and she will not be a yes woman for anyone. Jon Ossoff too will come out of this with an enhanced reputation among Democrats. He is going to be a force to contend with in the future. His political career is just starting.

Special Election GA 06 – Resurgent Live Blog

10:42 p.m. – Beautiful tribute to Steve Scalise in Karen Handel’s victory speech. Karen decries violence in the name of political ideology on both sides of the aisle.

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/877349642945560576

9:55 PM  From the US House editor of the Cook Political Report:

9:34 p.m. – Look who weighed in his own inimitable way.

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/877335158113804288

9:18 WOW: Predictit.org shows Karen Handel with a 92% chance of winning.

 

https://twitter.com/JesseKellyDC/status/877336858165989376

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/JesseKellyDC/status/877332987838431232

 

 

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/877330123690696704

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/HawkinsUSA/status/877323976745275392

 

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/877325120330539008

Tweet of the night?

Moral victory!!!

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/877321130205364225

 

 

 

LOL

Harry Enten of polling aggregate site FiveThirtyEight is looking mildly optimistic for Handel.

 

Funniest tweet so far today…

So Fox News is commenting on CNN…

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