Political Editors / Jun. 21, 2017

Ossoff Outspends Handel, Then Bemoans Lack of Campaign Finance Reform

Then again, he's following in the great tradition of big campaign spenders like Barack Obama.

On the day of the Georgia special election, which was the culmination of the most expensive House race in American history, Democrat candidate Jon Osseff was asked by National Public Radio reporter Rachel Martin about the cost of the campaign — nearly $50 million between the two candidates. “Does that disturb you?” Martin asked. Ossoff’s response may reveal just why he lost the election — that and the fact that he couldn’t even vote in the district he was running to represent because he wasn’t a resident. “The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money,” he opined. “There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads on air for months now. When you have that kind of environment, it’s necessary to raise the resources to fight back. I’m proud of the fact that my campaign has raised that money in small-dollar contributions, on average less than $50.”

Surprisingly, Martin didn’t let Ossoff off the hook that easily and pressed him on the fact that his campaign had outspent Republican Karen Handel by $2 million in ads alone. In fact, by the end of May, the Democrats had spent $22.5 million to Handel’s $3.2 million. But the obvious hypocrisy touting the need for campaign finance reform all while outspending his Republican opponent by nearly seven to one seemed lost on Ossoff. Yet he doggedly and laughably stuck to his talking point, insisting, “There’s no question that money in politics is a major problem, which is one of the reasons that we need campaign finance reform so that candidates and campaigns will spend more time talking to voters and discussing the issues and less time raising money.”

So evidently it’s Ossoff’s opponent’s fault that Democrats raised and spent millions in money from outside Georgia in an attempt to defeat a Republican in a conservative district — all in order to send Donald Trump a message that ultimately ended up backfiring. Sure it would be nice if less money was spent in politics, but complaining about such spending after he did everything in his power to stack the deck against his opponent is disingenuous.

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