Democrat Jon Ossoff lost his bid against Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s Sixth District special congressional election Tuesday night, representing a stunning rebuke of Hollywood and the numerous celebrities who stumped for and contributed to the Democrat’s campaign.
The race to fill the seat long held by former Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), now President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, had received national media attention as Democrats used the contest as an opportunity to measure the party’s prospects to win elections in the run-up to the 2018 midterms.
Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker-turned-Democratic politician, had received a steady stream of support from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Some of the most vocal celebrity critics of President Donald Trump, including Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda, and Samuel L. Jackson, donated time and money to help Ossoff’s campaign.
In April, Jackson cut a 45-second radio ad endorsing Ossoff, urging Georgia voters to “stop Donald Trump, a man who encourages racial and religious discrimination and sexism.”
Actor John Leguizamo’s assertion that democracy itself hinged on Ossoff winning underscored how desperate Hollywood was to send a resounding message of resistance to Trump’s presidency.
But Tuesday’s results were likely to prompt more soul-searching among the political left, who are still looking for their first significant post-Trump election victory.
Actress Alyssa Milano, an early Ossoff supporter, personally drove voters to polling sites for the Democrat during the April election that forced Tuesday’s runoff.
With the prospect of moving to Georgia for film work, Milano saw Ossoff’s long-shot election as a way to continue her political activism in the Trump era.
“After Trump was elected, I decided to dedicate my time and passion to trying to flip seats,” the Charmed star told Variety.
Milano previously said she wanted “to puke” after Ossoff’ failure to reach the 50 percent threshold required to avoid Tuesday’s runoff.
On Tuesday, the Who’s the Boss star launched a social media campaign encouraging people to tweet photos of themselves after hitting the polls.
Actresses Sarah Silverman and Debra Messing attacked Ossoff’s opponent, Karen Handel, on social media in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.
Despite the belief of numerous political experts that Ossoff would fall short in the Republican-dominated district that helped send Trump to the White House, the president had earlier declared Tuesday’s election to be a matchup between “Hollywood vs. Georgia.”
The president took to Twitter Monday to urge Georgia voters to pull the lever for Handel.