Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson had a pointed message for national Democrats: Don’t relegate the former two-term Columbus mayor to afterthought status in the June 9 race to challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue.
In a weekend memo, Tomlinson’s campaign urged party leaders not to “squander” the chance to oust Perdue by rallying behind Jon Ossoff, the investigative journalist and former 6th District candidate who is leading the public and private polls.
Touting her elected experience, the memo said “Tomlinson can take the fight to Perdue in a way that a 33-year-old part owner of a documentary film company with a very thin resume could never do.”
The impetus for the memo was the decision by The Cook Report, a highly respected Washington-based political prognosticator, that gave Ossoff top billing when it downgraded Perdue’s chance to keep the seat from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”
But it goes deeper than that. Three separate internal Republican polls obtained this month by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show tight matchups between Ossoff and Perdue – and no mention of Tomlinson or Sarah Riggs Amico, the 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor who is also in the race.
A poll released Tuesday shows Jon Ossoff leading other Democrats in a potential head-to-head matchup against U.S. Sen. David Perdue, the latest in a string of surveys that shows a tight race for the seat.
In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate contest, Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins tops a jumbled field racing to unseat incumbent Kelly Loeffler, who trails her three most prominent Democratic rivals in hypothetical one-on-one contests.
The survey, conducted by Civiqs for the left-leaning DailyKos outlet, showed Ossoff with a 47-45 edge over Perdue, within the poll’s margin of error. Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is statistically tied with Perdue, 45-44, and Sarah Riggs Amico is within 3 percentage points (45-42).
It’s the most detailed public poll of the Senate contest since an Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey in March, though several recent GOP internal polls have also indicated close contests. However, it didn’t include a question about the June 9 Democratic primary contest for the right to challenge Perdue.
The poll involves 1,339 registered voters who participated online between May 16-18. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points. You can see the results here.
Jon Ossoff has been emerging not just as a primary frontrunner but also as a comeback kid:
The expectations Ossoff raised along with all that money (nearly $30 million) made his narrow defeat all the more disappointing, and he took a pass on a rematch with Handel in 2018 (Democrat Lucy McBath picked up the baton and edged out Handel that year). Now, at the ripe old age of 33, he’s attempting a comeback, this time in a statewide race to challenge Republican senator David Perdue. That donor list he built in 2017 still has major value; he’s running first in Democratic primary polls, mostly thanks to over $3 million (as of March 31) he’s pulled in, significantly more than the fundraising totals for his two chief Democratic rivals, former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico.
Often criticized by progressives in 2018 for being too centrist and for having too little outreach to minority voters, Ossoff has been working on his left flanks, picking up an endorsement from onetime opponent and local progressive champion Ted Terry (mayor of Clarkston), and relying heavily on ads featuring Congressman John Lewis (for whom Ossoff once worked). With seven names on the Democratic ballot for the June 9 primary, though, the odds are good Ossoff will be knocked into an August 11 runoff against either Tomlinson or Amico (a March University of Georgia poll had Ossoff at 29 percent, Tomlinson at 15 percent, and Amico at 14 percent, with a big undecided vote). At that point, he better get his money machine in gear.
What’s making this race more interesting is polling showing Georgia becoming a true multi-contest battleground, with Perdue (who is closely associated with both Donald Trump and with Georgia governor Brian Kemp, neither of whom is terribly popular in the state right now) looking vulnerable, after initially looking like a cinch for reelection. A new Civiqs poll shows Ossoff leading Perdue by two points (47/45), with Tomlinson only trailing the incumbent by a point (44/45), and Amico down by just three points (42/45). The same poll shows Joe Biden leading Donald Trump in Georgia by a point (48/47). An earlier GOP-commissioned Cygnal poll had similar numbers for Trump and Biden, with Trump and Kemp both getting poor marks for their handling of COVID-19.
Sarah Riggs Amico has been drawing attention to the issues:
And Democracy for America is continuing to build up momentum for Tomlinson’s campaign. Received this e-mail today from DFA:
BIG news out of Georgia:
The nonpartisan election forecaster, Cook Political Report, just upgraded our chances of flipping a Georgia Senate seat blue.
More and more polls show Georgia is up for grabs in 2020 — and DFA-endorsed progressive champion Teresa Tomlinson has what it takes to flip this seat blue and send Republican Senator David Perdue packing.
But Republicans aren’t going to go down without a fight, and Mitch McConnell’s right-wing donor network is going to spend whatever it takes to stop our progressive movement.
Teresa knows it’s going to take a true grassroots campaign to win this race and beat David Perdue. It’s why she isn’t taking a dime from corporate PACs, and she’s organizing across the state to lift people up and build the kind movement it takes to win.
Too many Democrats write off rural voters. We can’t afford to write off anyone in this election, particularly rural African American voters who are facing systematic voter suppression in this election.
Remember, if it weren’t for systematic voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia today.
That’s why Teresa needs our support to build a strong, expansive grassroots campaign across the entire state.
Thanks for all you do. Let’s flip this seat and end Mitch McConnell’s Senate majority.
Mondale Robinson, Political Director
Democracy for America
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