ATLANTA (AP) – Civil rights pioneer and Georgia congressman John Lewis’ endorsement of Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff is the focus of a new television ad from Ossoff’s campaign that begins airing statewide on Tuesday.
Ossoff, a former congressional aide who broke fundraising records during an unsuccessful 2017 run for a metro Atlanta U.S. House seat, faces a handful of other Democrats in a June 9 primary election. The winner will earn a spot taking on Republican Sen. David Perdue, a former business executive and ally of President Donald Trump, as he seeks a second term in November.
“I’ve known Jon for many, many years,” Lewis says in the ad. “He will fight for our values. Friends, I’m calling on you to support Jon Ossoff and send Donald Trump a message he will never forget.”
Lewis, who is seeking an 18th term of his own despite a pancreatic cancer diagnosis announced late last year, is the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Ossoff opened his bid for the seat with Lewis’ endorsement in September.
Ossoff’s opponents in the Democratic primary include former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson, former candidate for lieutenant governor Sarah Riggs Amico, former ACLU of Georgia head Maya Dillard, Air Force veteran James Knox and another hopeful, Marckeith DeJesus.
A primary runoff, required if no candidate receives more than 50% of votes in June, is scheduled for Aug. 11.
Ossoff’s endorsement from the civil rights heavyweight has drawn arrows from opposing campaigns in the past.
In October, Tomlinson’s campaign manager Kendra Cotton, who has since stepped down, accused Ossoff of “melding an endorsement of a civil rights icon into his own bona fides,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.