Jon Ossoff Raises $107m in Two Months, Nearly Doubling Previous U.S. Fundraising Record

Both of Georgia's seats are on the ballot in the runoff, and the winners will determine control of the Senate

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Haaretz's U.S. correspondent
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Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Georgia Jon Ossoff speaks after voting early in Atlanta, December 22, 2020.
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Georgia Jon Ossoff speaks after voting early in Atlanta, December 22, 2020. Credit: John Bazemore / AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Haaretz's U.S. correspondent

WASHINGTON – Jon Ossoff raised a record-high $107 million in the past two months in his bid to win one of the two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia's January 5 runoff, according to his pre-runoff Federal Election Commission filing Thursday.

Ossoff's record beats the previous quarterly high established earlier this year by Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democrat who raised $57 million in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Harrison's haul was a significant jump from the previous record of $38 million set by Beto O'Rourke in his futile bid to defeat Senator Ted Cruz in 2018.

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Both of Georgia's seats are on the ballot in the runoff, and the winners will determine control of the Senate. Ossoff is no stranger to raising remarkably high figures, raising $30 million in his unsuccessful 2017 bid to win a House election in his traditionally conservative district, where he exceeded expectations but still lost in the runoff to Republican Karen Handel.

Ossoff, perhaps the most high-profile Jewish Democrat in the country at the moment, recently told Haaretz how the party has spent the past decade working to build a multiracial, multigenerational coalition in the state. “The coalition in Georgia has invested in voter registration, volunteer mobilization and community outreach to grow this new Southern coalition,” he said.

The 33-year-old Atlanta native, who will become the Senate's youngest member if elected, is running against Republican incumbent Senator David Perdue, who earned more votes than Ossoff even though President-elect Joe Biden won the state's presidential vote. Biden earned 99,000 more votes in Georgia than Ossoff.

Ossoff's totals triple the nearly $33 million he raised in the previous 15 months of his campaign. Grassroots donors contributing less than $200 accounted for $49.6 million of his fundraising haul. Perdue, meanwhile, raised $68 million. Republican super PACs have also been greatly outspending the campaigns, potentially blunting the grassroots fundraising differences.

Perdue ran an attack ad over the summer appearing to digitally enhance the size of Ossoff's nose, which his campaign termed an "unintentional error."

“First, you were lengthening my nose in attack ads to remind everybody that I’m Jewish,” Ossoff told Perdue. “Then, when that didn’t work, you started calling me some kind of an Islamic terrorist. And then, when that didn’t work, you started calling me a Chinese communist.”

“I’m descended from Ashkenazi immigrants who fled pogroms in the early 20th century, and I grew up among relatives who were Holocaust survivors,” Ossoff told Haaretz earlier this month. “So my Jewish upbringing instilled in me a conviction to fight for the marginalized and oppressed, and also to be vigilant where there’s the risk that authoritarianism may emerge.”

Rev. Raphael Warnock, the other Democratic candidate running against Republican incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, raised $103 million. Loeffler, meanwhile, reported raising $64m.

Loeffler has made accusations of Warnock's alleged anti-Zionist stance a central tenant of her campaign. “Rev. Warnock has a long history of anti-Israel extremism. He defended Jeremiah Wright’s antisemitic comments. He embraced the anti-Zionist Black Lives Matter organization. And he thinks Israel is an ‘oppressive regime’ for fighting back against terrorism,” she tweeted last month.

“He has been a friend to Atlanta’s Jewish community throughout his tenure at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and a regular speaker and visitor to Atlanta’s synagogues,” Valerie Habif and Joanie Shubin, founders of the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon, Atlanta, an activist group that helps elect Democrats in Georgia, said in a statement at the time. “His support for Israel is unequivocal.”

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