Wood defends comments on Congressional candidate’s name



ROSWELL, Ga. — As the race for the 6th Congressional District seat heats up, Roswell’s Mayor Jere Wood has drawn some criticism over recent comments regarding one candidate.

On Friday, March 3, Wood was quoted in an article by The New Yorker talking about Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff’s “ethnic-sounding name.”

“This is a mature voter base. If someone is going down the list, they’re going to vote for somebody who is familiar. If you just say ‘Ossoff,’ some folks are going to think, ‘Is he Muslim? Is he Lebanese? Is he Indian?’ It’s an ethnic-sounding name, even though he may be a white guy, from Scotland or wherever,” Wood said in the magazine article, “Can this Democrat Win the Georgia Sixth?”

Ossoff was born and raised in the 6th District to a father of Russian-Lithuanian descent and a mother who emigrated from Australia.

In response to the article, Wood told the Herald that his initial comments had to do with lack of name recognition.

“Now, with two million dollars’ worth of TV ads, Jon’s name is well known,” Wood said. “I regret my choice of words in my interview with The New Yorker and it does not represent Roswell. I expect him to poll well in the 6th District election.”

Wood added that two of Ossoff’s campaign signs are located at his law office on the corner of Canton and Woodstock Street.

In response, Ossoff said he is looking to keep running a clean campaign.

“I think the comments were unfortunate,” Ossoff said. “I understand the mayor has walked those comments back a little bit, and I appreciate that. People want to hear a positive message, and I’m running a respectful campaign.”

Ossoff along with 17 other candidates are vying for the seat vacated by Republican Tom Price, who now serves in the Trump Administration. The special election ballot is slated for April 18, and a runoff for first- and second-place finishers is on June 20 if no one candidate initially captures 50 percent of the vote.

The 6th District covers Roswell and portions of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Tucker, Chamblee Doraville and Dunwoody.

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