One Vote in the 6th District
Editor's Notebook

One Vote in the 6th District

It’s more important to pick a good person intent on doing what’s best for constituents than someone who aligns perfectly with me on the issues.

Michael Jacobs

Atlanta Jewish Times Editor Michael Jacobs is on his second stint leading the AJT's editorial operations. He previously served as managing editor from 2005 to 2008.

Sorting through the 18 candidates running to be my new congressman in the 6th District, I think it’s more important to pick a good person intent on doing what’s best for his or her constituents than someone who aligns perfectly with me on the issues.

This campaign has been dominated by Democrats’ efforts to flip the district through Jon Ossoff and thus send a message of resistance to President Donald Trump.

Through the end of March, Ossoff had raised just under $8.3 million, an astounding amount, 95 percent of which came from outside Georgia. People across the country also have made phone calls and sent letters for Ossoff; I received a personal postcard from Wilmington, Del., urging support for the 30-year-old.

Ossoff is a smart, well-educated guy. He grew up in the district. He’s Jewish. But just among Democrats, he doesn’t have the military record of Richard Keatley, the legislative experience of Ron Slotin or the health care expertise of Rebecca Quigg.

The AJT interviewed 15 of the 18 candidates, and with Ossoff we had the hardest time breaking through the polished politician to the real person. That’s not a criticism; I just don’t feel as if we got to know who he really is. Maybe his 200,000 donors and #FliptheSixth advocates feel differently.

The relentless attack ads against Ossoff have earned him sympathy and support. Yes, most of his money is from out of state, but he has raised more than $400,000 locally, in the range of other leading candidates.

I’m annoyed that Ossoff has stretched his national security experience and frustrated that he hasn’t said exactly what work his documentary film company did for Al Jazeera. But while I don’t care for Al Jazeera, it’s silly to think that work for the Qatari-owned news network represents support for terrorism.

I just hope that those voting for Ossoff do so because they think he’s the best candidate, not because they want to send a message to Trump or the GOP — a message, by the way, that will produce a staggeringly expensive primary election a year from now if Ossoff does flip the district.

In the interest of transparency in our coverage of the election, I feel a responsibility to share my vote. But as I write this, I’m still undecided between two candidates: Republicans Judson Hill and David Abroms.

I’ve known and liked Hill on a professional level for more than a decade and been one of his state Senate constituents for most of that time. I usually agree with him, and I appreciate his willingness to buck his party leadership.

Hill, as a longtime elected official for a significant chunk of the 6th District, is the logical, deserving candidate to succeed Tom Price.

Most important, Hill has been Israel’s best friend in the General Assembly, from supporting state purchases of Israel Bonds to opposing Iran and BDS. Israel could use an ally like Hill in Congress.

But Abroms impressed me in our interview. I like his story, from the inspiration of his Holocaust-survivor grandparents to his willingness to risk everything to start his business and to give it all up to bring a fresh voice to Georgia politics.

I’d love to see a runoff between Ossoff and Abroms, not only because that would guarantee a Jewish victor, but also because we’re ready for a duel of ideas between two clever candidates in their early 30s. Ossoff almost certainly will reach the runoff, but Abroms didn’t even make the five-person Republican candidate forum April 2.

Still, it will be Abroms or Hill for me in the primary. I’ll reassess for the June 20 runoff.

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