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Georgia Democrats say a lot has changed between these two bookends of the Trump era: Ossoff is a better candidate, and, as shown in president-elect Joe Biden’s win here, Georgia has become a much friendlier state for them.

State Rep. Jasmine Clark, a scientist who narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in the “blue wave” of the 2018 midterms, said you can draw a direct line from Ossoff’s first race to Stacey Abrams’ near-miss run for governor and then to Biden’s projected win this month.

“That 2017 special election was the catalyst for what we saw in 2018. And the 2018 election served as an even bigger catalyst for 2020, when the state finally flipped from red to blue,” Clark said.

Georgia is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, with a booming economy attracting especially young people of color. More than 600,000 new voters have been added to the rolls since the 2018 election, and an estimated 23,000 more young people will become eligible to vote just by the Jan. 5 runoff.

“Georgia has become younger and more diverse by the hour,” Ossoff said when asked what’s different this year. “What we’ve done to build infrastructure … much of this work led by Stacey Abrams, has been historic.”