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Ossoff Defends Georgia Campaign Despite Loss

| by Jordan Smith

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who lost in the race for Georgia's 6th congressional district on June 20, has defended his campaign against critics.

In his first interview since the defeat to Republican Karen Handel, Ossoff told the Washington Post the Democrats had performed well in the special election.

"Democratic turnout was extremely strong," Ossoff told the Post. "In an off-year special election, we got general election-level Democratic turnout and I think that's being lost in the coverage."

His positive tone has not been shared by all Democratic supporters since the defeat.

Some have argued that Ossoff's failure to attack President Donald Trump and raise the issue of health care proved his undoing.

"Nobody forced Ossoff to dismiss single payer, or held a gun to his head and made him use dog-whistle language about 'both parties in Washington' wasting taxpayer dollars," D. D. Guttenplan wrote in The Nation.

Ossoff rejected that view.

"News flash: the federal government is not the most efficient institution in the world," Ossoff added. "Taxpayers know that. Folks across the spectrum want more efficient management of their tax dollars."

Ossoff was equally dismissive of suggestions that he failed to mobilize support.

"I missed an outright win in April by less than 4,000 votes, then we added 32,000 votes," Ossoff told the Post. "Democratic turnout and excitement were high, and we won the majority of independents -- that's a testament to our economic message. I was talking about bringing more jobs and opportunities to Georgia."

In contrast, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton called for the party leadership to assume responsibility for the loss.

"One thing I learned in the Marines is you're responsible for everything you do or fail to do, your platoon does or fails to do," added Moulton, according to The Guardian. "I think that our leadership owes us an explanation for what happened, how the resources were spent, but also a plan for going forward and that's got to be a part of the discussion ... At the end of the day, we've got to win back seats in 2018."

According to Ossoff, national issues were not as significant in the Georgia campaign as the fact that Handel benefited from large amounts of out-of-state funding.

"If you watch the first debate, that's how I counterpunched -- that her campaign was being bailed out by Washington super PACs," Ossoff said to the Washington Post. "Look, we demonstrated here that small-dollar fundraising can go toe-to-toe with the power of right-wing super PACs funded by mega donors and the lobbyist cartel in Washington. I know that it was ironic that mega-donor-funded outside groups were funding those attacks, and it speaks to the structural challenge that Democrats have."

Was the Democratic leadership to blame for the loss?
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