Watch CBS News

Barack Obama narrates new Jon Ossoff ad ahead of Georgia runoff: "Vote like our lives depend on it, because they do"

Trump, Biden head to Georgia for Senate runoff
President Trump and President-elect Biden to throw their weight behind Georgia Senate candidates 08:07

Former President Barack Obama is front and center in a new ad for Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff, praising his abilities to pass a new Voting Rights Act and fight the coronavirus pandemic if elected. The ad was released Tuesday ahead of Ossoff's runoff race against Republican incumbent Senator David Perdue on January 5.

"Jon Ossoff has dedicated his career to fighting injustice," Mr. Obama says in the 30-second ad, titled "Prepared." The footage was originally filmed when the former president stumped for Ossoff in Georgia last month.  

Mr. Obama touts Ossoff's connections to one of his "lifelong heroes," the late civil rights icon Representative John Lewis. In high school, Ossoff interned for the Georgia congressman, who endorsed the candidate earlier this year. 

"He knows we need a new Voting Rights Act that makes sure every Georgian is treated equally under the law," Mr. Obama continues. 

The former president also stresses Ossoff's personal commitment to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, as his wife, Dr. Alisha Kramer, is a frontline health care worker in Atlanta. "Jon's wife, Alisha, is a doctor. He's going to listen to the experts to get this pandemic under control," he says. 

"If we vote like our lives depend on it, because they do, we will elect Jon Ossoff to the United States Senate," Mr. Obama concludes.

"Prepared" | Jon Ossoff for Senate by Jon Ossoff on YouTube

Both Republicans and Democrats are searching Georgia for new voters, although CBS News exit polling of the general election suggests neither party has much room to grow outside of their bases before early voting begins.

Georgia's other incumbent, GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler, also faces a runoff in January against Democratic Reverend Raphael Warnock. None of Georgia's candidates received more than 50% of votes, leading to the runoffs.  

In the November election, Perdue gained 49.7% of the vote while Ossoff received 47.9%. Warnock garnered 32.9% of votes compared to Loeffler's 25.9%. 

Both races are crucial in determining the balance of power in the Senate. If Democrats win both races, they will take the majority, with the tie-breaking vote going to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. 

Both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden said they have plans to travel to Georgia in support of their respective candidates as early as this week. It was previously unclear if the president would support the run-off race, as he continues to push baseless claims of voter fraud in the state. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.