During his time campaigning in Pennsylvania this election season, Joe Biden used to remind voters he was once called “Pennsylvania’s third senator.”
Delaware is practically a Philadelphia suburb, after all, and his interests were closely aligned with those in the Keystone State, so there wasn’t anything unnatural about this relationship — even if it did diminish Delaware a bit.
In Georgia, Jon Ossoff seems to be running to be “California’s third senator.” He’s beloved by Hollywood culture and the state’s liberals. He’s a documentary filmmaker, after all — that’s his most recent expertise coming into this job, aside from losing a 2017 runoff for a U.S. House of Representatives seat.
That doesn’t quite make as much sense as Biden being Pennsylvania’s third senator, mind you. California’s on the opposite coast from Georgia. It shares little in common in terms of culture, cuisine or really anything aside from the same language and Constitution.
However, if the Democrats want the Senate, they need Ossoff — and Raphael Warnock, the other Democrat Georgia runoff challenger — to win.
And Hollywood is going to prop them up like nothing else, so much so that Ossoff has collected more than five times as much in itemizable donations from the Golden State as he has from his own state.
According to The New York Times, both Ossoff and Warnock have broken Federal Election Commission records by each netting over $100 million between Oct. 16 and Dec. 16 as they approach the Jan. 5 runoffs against GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively. Perdue has raised $68 million and Loeffler $64 million.
The Times focused on the fact that small donors were driving the Democrats’ cash haul.
“The Democrats’ haul was powered in large part by a flurry of smaller donations collected from across the country, filings show, with nearly half of the funds coming from people who donated less than $200,” The Times reported.
“For Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler, the smaller donations accounted for less than 30 percent of what they raised.”
Of course, the Times also mentioned these record-breaking quarterly hauls broke a record just set by another Democrat, Jaime Harrison of South Carolina. You may remember Harrison, who was quickly hurried off stage on Nov. 4; he took in $57 million in one quarter in a race that polls showed was close, and proceeded to lose by 10 points to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.
What the newspaper didn’t spend as much time mentioning is where much of Ossoff’s money was coming from, however.
According to an analysis of FEC records by Breitbart and confirmed by the New York Post, Ossoff raised $14,731,746 of that haul from the state of California. That’s 26.43 percent of his total in itemized contributions (which exceed $200 and, as the Post noted, are “able to be traced”) that quarter.
As for Georgia? He’s taken in just $2,550,267, or 4.57 percent of his total in itemized donations, from there.
This was actually true during the general election, as well. According to an October analysis by the Washington Free Beacon, 87 percent of his third-quarter itemized donations came from outside Georgia and twice as much came from California as from the state Ossoff is seeking to represent.
And it isn’t even as if the Democrats are pretending, either. It’s just that no one is looking.
One of the first major fundraising shindigs that Ossoff and Warnock made in the runoff campaign was a “Save the Senate” virtual Zoom event hosted not in Georgia but at Manny’s — a San Francisco-based restaurant that prides itself on being located in “a historic hub of activism and progressive action.”
The Hill, meanwhile, reported that Hollywood stars Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Sarah Cooper and Dulcé Sloan held a Dec. 18 fundraiser for the candidates.
For all those predicting dire things, well, one hopes that history repeats itself. Ossoff has found himself in this position before — in a 2017 House runoff against Republican Karen Handel in the first federal race after President Donald Trump’s election.
In the final two months of the race, about 98 percent of the money his campaign received was from outside the state, and he got plenty of it. The fact that he doesn’t have a Rep. before his name should tell you all you need to know about how that ended up, however.
The strategy can backfire, too. At an event earlier this month with Vice President Mike Pence in Georgia to support Perdue and Loeffler, GOP Georgia Rep. Rick Allen slammed “limousine liberals” trying to dictate to Georgians how they should vote.
“I am sick and tired of these limousine liberals from California and New York deciding who our next two senators are going to be in the state of Georgia. Ossoff and Warnock couldn’t raise a dime in the state of Georgia,” Allen said, according to Breitbart.
“Y’all, this money is coming from California and New York, that is dead wrong! And it turns my stomach and I am tired of it and they tried to do the same thing to my buddy Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. We’re sick of it, go home to California and New York!”
They’re not going to.
However, Ossoff does have a documentary company based in London. He can always go back there — which would be, after all, a much better ending to this whole tale than his becoming California’s third senator.