In-person early voting is now underway in the 6th Congressional District Special Election.
The Runoff Election between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff is three weeks away, but thousands of voters are expected to vote early.
The 6th District includes parts of three metro Atlanta counties – Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb – with three different election offices running the show.
The most recent exclusive 11Alive Poll shows Ossoff leading Handel by 7 percentage points. 11Alive’s Jeff Hullinger sat down with Ossoff on Tuesday afternoon for a one-on-one conversation.
Portions of the interview:
Jeff Hullinger, Anchor, WXIA-TV: What is the number one issue for voters in this district?
Jon Ossoff, D - Candidate for 6th District: I think we're united in the desire for greater economic opportunity to attract more jobs and investment to the area, more capital and clients for our businesses. I think the need for access to affordable health care unites people; that folks with pre-existing conditions shouldn't face price discrimination, and that women should be able to access medical services when and where they see fit.
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Hullinger: When you were a kid growing up, could you have imagined that one day you would see yourself being described on Atlanta television as dangerous -- and you would have laughed about it?
Ossoff: Politics has become ugly. There's so much partisanship out there. I think this campaign is bringing people together by focusing on core values and economic development. That's why the campaign has built a coalition that goes beyond political party.
Hullinger: You've talked a lot about being an independent, but it's very hard being independent in Washington, they are a very rare species. Everyone is an ideologue, whether it's left or right. You have so much money coming in. Is it possible to go to Washington and say, ‘Yes, I will have independence, but Congress doesn't see many of that kind?’
Ossoff: Congress is filled with career politicians who have become creatures of the system, who are mired in gridlock. My campaign is powered by grassroots, small-dollar fundraising. The average contribution is less than $50, and that will afford me the kind of independence to look exclusively at policy on the merits. Does a proposal serve the interest of the community? If it does, I will support it. If it doesn't I'll seek to amend it. If ultimately it gets to the floor and it's not right for the 6th District, I’ll oppose it.
Hullinger: You're a young person who's had so much written about you. They always talk about what the future holds for you. Do you have a master plan, that everybody believes Jon Ossoff is choreographing his future in American Politics?
Ossoff: Not at all. I'm a small business owner. I run a firm that investigates organized crime, political corruption -- selling that content to broadcasters. That's been the most rewarding work so far, and I had no plans to get back into politics anytime soon until November. I think what we learned in November, is how little faith there is in politics, how little faith in our elected representatives and institutions. I want to apply my experience and bring a fresh perspective to try to rebuild some of that faith and get things done for Georgia.
Note: 11Alive has offered both Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel the chance to come on and discuss all of the key issues in the highly-competitive race. Ossoff accepted. Our invitation to speak with Handel remains open.