Jon Ossoff pledges ‘unwavering’ LGBTQ support in Senate

Former U.S. House candidate Jon Ossoff called David Perdue’s outsider persona “a joke” as he launched his campaign to unseat the U.S. senator.

Ossoff (photo) stirred LGBTQ excitement during his 2017 campaign for the 6th Congressional District seat. He lost to anti-LGBTQ former Secretary of State Karen Handel in the most expensive U.S. House race in history, but vowed to stand up for LGBTQ people if he wins a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2020.

“I am a resolute and unwavering ally of the LGBT community,” Ossoff told Project Q Atlanta on Friday. “Georgians, no matter their sexual orientation or gender, will be able to count on me to fight for them every day in the United States Senate with a clear voice advocating on behalf of the human rights and civil rights of every single Georgian.”

Ossoff did not mention specific pending legislation that would affect LGBTQ people, but said he would fight any anti-LGBTQ discrimination that arises in the Senate.

“I will fight for marriage equality. I will fight for adoption rights for gay couples,” he said. “And I will oppose cynical legislative efforts to marginalize and discriminate against LGBT Americans.”

Ossoff was the fourth candidate to jump into the Democratic primary, following former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and former candidate for lieutenant governor Sarah Riggs Amico. The race for Perdue’s seat is one of two elections in 2020 for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.  

Ossoff declined to comment on his primary opponents, instead preferring to set his sights on Perdue, who he called “the embodiment of corruption in American politics.”

“In five years as our senator, despite one in three rural children in Georgia living in poverty, despite Georgia having the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, despite half of our counties having no OBGYN position, he has not once come down from his private island to hold a public townhall,” he said. “His ‘outsider’ persona is a joke. He’s the cousin of the U.S. secretary of agriculture, cousin of the former governor, one of the closest allies of the president of the United States, and a tool of his donors. He will be exposed and defeated in 2020.”

Ossoff said he would “absolutely” march in the Atlanta Pride parade in October.

“In fact, Congressman Hank Johnson and I led the Stacey Abrams contingent in 2018,” he said. “I love Pride. It’s a joyful, unifying, inspiring display of beautiful civic energy. It’s always a great day.”

Ossoff stayed busy on the LGBTQ scene after losing the 2017 U.S. House race. He was mobbed by supporters during the Georgia Voice Best of Atlanta celebration that July, and he accepted the Best Politician award by pledging to remain a staunch defender for LGBTQ people. He later spoke at a rally to support transgender people just days after President Trump announced he would ban them from serving in the military.

Handel lost her reelection bid to Lucy McBath in 2018 and is taking her on in a rematch in 2020.