The Democratic National Committee will hire 10 new field staffers to target tens of thousands of minority voters who didn’t cast ballots in last month’s special election to represent metro Atlanta’s conservative-leaning suburbs.
The DNC’s decision Thursday reflects the party’s multipronged approach to boost Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign for the 6th District. Even as he aims to appeal to moderate and independent voters to defeat Republican Karen Handel, the party is also targeting minority voters who have long been its most solid bloc of supporters.
Democrats are looking for every edge they can get in the June 20 runoff to represent the district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb. The seat has long been held by Republicans, but Donald Trump’s struggles in the territory have Democrats hoping to land a major upset victory.
Read more: Democrats aim to woo minority votes
The DNC’s initiative will target nearly 80,000 registered voters in the district, including about 48,000 black residents, 18,000 Asian-American voters and 12,000 Latinos. DNC chair Tom Perez said those voters “have been at the heart of the resistance” to Trump and will be at the heart of Ossoff’s campaign.
“Jon Ossoff is in a strong position to win next month, and Democrats will continue to make gains in Georgia, because we’re working to talk to every single voter in this district by every possible means and leaving no stone untouched,” said Perez.
The race has become a costly proxy fight between national Republicans and Democrats and a dry run for the 2018 midterms. The parties, outside groups and candidates have poured more than $30 million into the race, making it the most expensive U.S. House contest on record.
The reinforcements are welcome news to Ossoff’s campaign.
He has reserved more than $6.6 million in airtime for cable, TV and radio ads in the nine-week stretch between the April 18 vote and the June 20 runoff. But Republican groups have poured in more than $8 million for their own ad blitz since April’s contest, and Handel’s campaign – which has raised at least $2 million – debuted its first ad of the runoff this week.
The DNC said its working with the Democratic Party of Georgia to hire local staffers for the jobs. They’ll be tasked with working on community phone banks, block-by-block canvassing, get-out-the-vote drives and visits to community centers and local businesses to rev up support for Ossoff.
Georgia party chair DuBose Porter stressed the plans were drawn up with an eye on future races.
“We’re building long-term relationships with voters in the 6th that will help us win not only in June, but in cycles to come,” he said.
More recent AJC coverage of the 6th District race: