The Democratic candidate in the Georgia special election struggled to explain in a Monday interview on MSNBC why his campaign is relying on celebrities — one of the same tactics embraced by Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign.
Jon Ossoff defended the strategy by arguing that voters in Georgia’s Sixth District don’t actually care if celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and George Takei come into their district to try and tell them how to vote. (RELATED: Ossoff Has Nine Times As Many Donors In California Than His Home State Of Georgia)
“Let me ask you, do you think Samuel Jackson, George Takei and Sam Watterson and Jessica Lange and Connie Britton or any of the celebrities who endorsed you understand the daily struggles of those in your district?” asked MSNBC host Nicole Wallace. “Do you think Hillary Clinton’s failure with the biggest and brightest celebrities by her side and Jay Z and Beyonce, do you think it’s smart to have the celebrities on your side?”
“I don’t honestly think voters care which figures from Washington whether it’s the vice president or the speaker or whether it’s celebrities,” Ossoff started to say, before Wallace pushed back.
“Then why have them? Why have them campaign for you?” she asked, prompting Ossoff to undercut the effectiveness of his own campaign strategy.
“Well, the campaign is focused on the issues of concern to voters here in the Sixth District and whether it’s politicians from Washington or from celebrities across the country, that’s not what animates people here in Georgia,” he answered.
“I don’t disagree you, sir, but if it’s not what animates people in Georgia, why associate your campaign with something that we know it failed for Hillary Clinton, why not learn one of the lessons of her failed candidacy and ask celebrities to stay away from your race?” Wallace followed-up.
“Well, look, if folks want to help, they can come and help. but what voters are concerned with are who can deliver the health care and bring the greatest focus on accountability and bipartisanship to Washington. This kind of process stuff who’s coming in or out it’s not of interest to the voters in the sixth district,” Ossoff answered.
Celebrities have been actively trying to get Ossoff elected, both on social media and through campaign donations.
One radio ad funded by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) last month featured Jackson bashing President Trump and telling Georgia voters to vote Democrat in the special election.
“Vote for the Democratic party. Stop Donald Trump, the man who encourages racial and religious discrimination and sexism,” Jackson urged voters. “Remember the last time people stayed home. We got stuck with Trump.” The narrator for the ad introduced Jackson as an “award-winning actor and civil rights activist.”