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Georgia Runoff: Democrats and Republicans Enter Final Battle for Control of the Senate

Nicole Rojas
Jan 5, 2021 - 8:00

Election day for the Senate runoff races in Georgia is finally here. After weeks of campaigning, two Republican senators will face off against their Democratic challengers for the two seats that will determine control of the Senate during the Biden-Harris administration. 

Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are up against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock for Georgia’s two Senate seats. None of the candidates managed to earn more than 50 percent of the votes back in November, pushing both races to a January 5, 2021, runoff. 

Election chaos caused by President Donald Trump’s insistence of voter fraud in the state during the general election has divided the Republican Party and hurt their chances during the runoff. The president visited Georgia for a campaign rally on Jan. 4, just a day after audio emerged of him asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to find more than 11,000 votes to overturn the results of the presidential election. 

To make matters worse, Trump has continued to send mixed messages about the runoffs. On Jan. 1, the president tweeted that the runoff was “illegal and invalid” but a day later urged supporters to vote on election day, The New York Times reported. 

Polls show both Democrats with slight leads over the Republican incumbents. According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, Ossoff leads Perdue by 1.4 percentage points, while Warnock leads Loeffler by 2 percentage points. Democrats will need to win both seats to gain effective control of the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaking vote. 

Democrats have put their full weight behind Ossoff and Warnock’s campaigns, with President-elect Joe Biden and Harris making appearances on the campaign trail. Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama also lent their support, voicing ads for the two candidates. 

However, if Democrats lose just one seat, Republicans will retain control of the Senate and make it difficult for the incoming administration to deliver on policy priorities. In a campaign visit on Jan. 4, Vice President Mike Pence urged voters to the polls so that the GOP can maintain their majority. 

“We need Georgia to defend the majority,” Pence said, according to The Guardian. “In one more day, we need people of faith to stand with two leaders who will support life and liberty and the freedom of every American. In one more day, we need to win Georgia and save America.” 

According to data by Georgia Votes, more than three million Georgians have cast their ballots in the runoff election. 

Action Steps

Vote: Today is the last day to cast your vote in the Senate runoff election in Georgia. You can check where your polling station is here. Voters should remember to bring appropriate ID when they head to the polls. Also, remember that if you are already on line to vote when polling locations close, do not leave since you are legally entitled to cast your vote. 

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

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