This Tuesday, Georgians in the 6th Congressional District will head to the polls in one of the most high-profile House races in recent history. Although 18 candidates are running, the race has evolved into a clear struggle between two distinct sides: the grassroots versus the corporate special interests.
On one side, the grassroots have enthusiastically gotten behind Jon Ossoff. Jon has surged to a significant lead, up by 28% in recent polls. He’s had a spike in volunteers, who are pitching in by knocking on doors and making phone calls. The campaign’s also made waves with record-setting fundraising numbers, taking in $8.3 million in small-dollar contributions from nearly 200,000 donors, with an average contribution of only $42. Jon has garnered this widespread support by demonstrating that he isn’t afraid to stand up to the powerful, expose corruption and fight to reform the rigged system that’s beholden to mega-donors.
On the other side, darker forces are at play. Corporate special interests are scrambling to maintain control of a seat whose last occupant protected their interests for over a decade. In a district that traditionally doesn’t see more than $50,000 in outside spending, Super PACs and dark money groups – organizations with the ability to collect an unlimited amount of secret, undisclosed donations – have suddenly rushed in. Big Money groups like the Congressional Leadership Fund, Club for Growth Action and Ending Spending are panicking. They’re pouring in millions of dollars in an attempt to elect anyone but Jon.
The Congressional Leadership Fund alone has dumped in over $2 million in TV ad spending against Ossoff – funding vicious, deceptive attack ads that have been paid for by Wall Street and Big Oil. Chevron, a multinational oil titan, has already given the Congressional Leadership Fund $350,000 this year to elect candidates who will put their interests first. That’s on top of the $3 million it put in last year. We also learned last year that two big hedge fund managers, Paul Singer and Julian Robertson, gave the group $1 million each to make sure that Wall Street is a priority. And a group called American Action Network, another secretive dark money organization, has funneled $3.6 million into these efforts.
Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, these Big Money corporate interests have spent over a billion. Now, in Georgia, they have met their match in Jon Ossoff and the power of the grassroots.
On Election Day, voters have a clear choice. They’ll chose between Jon Ossoff, who’s riding a wave of grassroots energy, and the rest of the candidates, who hope that their Big Money supporters can drag them over the finish line.
Jon Ossoff is a fresh alternative. He isn’t a pawn of corporate special interests, and he doesn’t have mega-donors propping up his candidacy. He won’t owe corporate interests anything. Everyday people are propelling his campaign. In fact, End Citizens United’s grassroots network has donated over $650,000 with an average donation of just $12. And hundreds more have volunteered to help.
By electing Jon Ossoff, Georgia families can prove that We the People – everyday Americans – can stand up to Big Money and the rigged system in Washington, and return our democracy to the people.
Tiffany Muller is the executive director of End Citizens United, the largest campaign finance reform organization supported entirely by small-dollar donors.