Ossoff hired 2,000 young mostly Black Georgians for community mobilizing
The largely digital effort has positioned campaign staff to reach out to their personal networks along with pushing Ossoff’s message to the wider public.
All eyes will be on Georgia on Jan. 5 as a pair of U.S. Senate runoff elections will determine if President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the benefit of a Democratic Party-led Congress.
Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both have a tangible opportunity in obtaining the seats in the Senate currently held by Republican Party incumbents, Sen. David Purdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Campaign managers for both Warnock and Ossoff are using tried and true grassroots mobilizing with Ossoff’s team ramping up efforts with a massive mobilization effort that has employed a significant number of Black Georgians.
The Ossoff campaign launched an inventive community organizing effort aimed at galvanizing voters and maximizing turnout for the Jan. 5 elections. The Community Mobilizer program largely takes place in the digital space, and the Ossoff campaign has put 2,000 young and mostly Black Georgians in control of getting their communities involved in the election process.
Over the past few weeks, the part-time campaign workers make up the largest voter mobilization ever in the state’s history, touting a partnering phonebank that has made over 7 million calls across Georgia.
theGrio spoke briefly with campaign manager Ellen Foster, who explained some of the finer points of the mobilization program. Ms. Foster shared that they’ve instructed the mobilizers to focus on key issues that Ossoff stands behind and to primarily reach out to their inner circles which include their families and friends.
Ms. Foster detailed that the Ossoff campaign introduced the opportunity to work on its behalf via social media, flyers, and additional ads across the state. The casting of the net has proved fruitful as the campaign boasts that there is at least one mobilizer in all 159 counties in Georgia. During the chat, theGrio learned that a large portion of the staff are first-time voter mobilization and campaign workers.
With Georgia flipping blue for the first time in nearly three decades, the workers are pushing Ossoff and Warnock’s talking points that echo the overall aims of the Democratic Party to keep their political agenda at the front of the minds of potential voters. Those issues include a $15 minimum wage, reestablishing both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, affordable health care among other relevant concerns.
Using Reach, an app that automatically syncs the user’s cell phone contacts and cross-references the voter file, it determines which of the user’s contacts are friends with the Ossoff campaign team. From there, mobilizers will attempt to make contact and make their pitch on the importance of voting in the runoff.
theGrio inquired about what measures are being implemented to ensure the safety of the workers who decide to go with the traditional method of canvassing and door-knocking. Ms. Foster, speaking assuredly, said that they’re trusting the mobilizers to observe safety guidelines and to discern which methods of outreach work best for them.
“Jon’s campaign remains squarely focused on ensuring voters have the information they need to vote and that they know what’s at stake in this election,” Foster shared in a press statement.
“Jon’s race [for the U.S. House of Representatives] in 2017 laid a lot of groundwork for expanding the electorate in the 6th Congressional district, and we’ve had the same north star in this statewide campaign. Ensuring young Georgians, predominantly from communities of color, have a voice in this campaign is a top priority.
She added, “This unprecedented program will allow the young people joining our campaign to mobilize and organize their friends, family, and neighbors in this final stretch.”
theGrio spoke with one of the community mobilizers, Tramaine Ashford, who is engaging in political campaign work for the first time. Not only does he appear to be meeting this unique challenge head-on, but he’s even expressed he’d willingly organize again when the need arises.
“This is new to me, this is the first time I’ve ever worked on a campaign,” said Ashford. “I feel like this is a great experience. It’s history in the making. I feel that it’s bringing a positive impact to the community so far and bringing about change.”
Ashford explained his first-hand account of how the Reach app works, adding that as a campaign worker, he and other staffers had the honor of meeting Mr. Ossoff at a recent event. During one particularly humorous moment, Ashford explained that the response has been overwhelmingly positive, but added that his persistence “stressed [his family and friends] out so much that they went on ahead and voted.”
Ashford added that he would eventually like to get into political organizing again at a later time, electing to focus on his current career. Still, it appears he’s been bit by the campaigning bug as it does with most folks who work on the ground.
To learn more about the Jon Ossoff campaign’s Community Mobilizer program, click here.
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