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Story highlights

Jon Ossoff, 30, hopes to flip a traditionally Republican seat in Georgia

Ossoff has tried to project a moderate voice and rarely talks about Trump

(CNN) —  

Democrats, desperate to hand President Donald Trump a setback, have their hopes riding on a 30-year-old political neophyte.

Jon Ossoff has never held office before.

But he defied expectations when he catapulted from obscurity to nearly winning the House race in April, while running in a longtime conservative stronghold in Georgia.

01:01 - Source: CNN Business
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The Atlanta native got 48.1% of the vote – just shy of the 50% he needed to avoid a runoff in a special election two months ago. He had called that outcome as a “victory for the ages.”

Now, he’s up against Republican candidate Karen Handel in the most expensive House race ever. Attention has fallen on the race as a bellwether for what’s to come in the 2018 midterm elections.

But if the election is a barometer of how voters feel about Trump, Ossoff hasn’t really been showing it.

He has been careful not to alienate persuadable voters in a heavily Republican district. In fact, he rarely discusses Trump – even when Trump tweets about him.