Georgia Senate Runoffs: What to Know

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.,) Speaks at a campaign event in Cumming, Ga. On November 13, 2020.
(Dustin Chambers / Reuters)

Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will vie for their Senate seats against Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the run-off election in early January.

The run-off comes after President Trump alleged his rival Joe Biden won the election through widespread electoral fraud. Trump and his allies criticized Georgian officials’ handling of the elections, where Biden won by less than 13,000 votes. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly hit back at allegations of electoral fraud, claiming that not only did the state count its results correctly, but the president may have depressed his own voting base by denigrating the vote by correspondence.

Helpers to Donald Trump Jr. launched super PAC to boost Republican participation, after calls to boycott runoff spread online.

Key dates

All registered voters in Georgia can vote for the second round, and eligible residents can register to vote before December 7 to qualify to vote in these elections. Absentee ballots must be received no later than January 5 election day and advance in-person voting begins December 14.

Challenges

The second round of elections in Georgia will decide which party will control the Senate during the first two years of the Biden administration. Republicans hold at least 50 seats after the general election, while Democrats and the two independents who meet with them hold 48. If Loeffler and Perdue lose, Democrats will win two seats to form a 50-50 tie with Republicans . President Kamala Harris voted for the tiebreaker. This would allow Democrats, who will hold the White House and a somewhat reduced majority in the House, more leeway to implement their legislative agenda.

On the other hand, if a Republican candidate wins their second round, the Senate GOP will have a 51-seat majority and will likely be able to thwart Democratic legislation.

Raphael warnock

Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, has drawn criticism from Republicans over his ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of President Obama. Wright gained notoriety in the 2008 election for a sermon in which he exclaimed “God damn America”. Among other extreme claims in the sermon, Wright accused the US government of “inventing” AIDS to kill black people. Warnock defended Wright’s sermon, saying the remarks were “taken from [their] theological and rhetorical context and looped to the point of ad nauseam.

Several months after Obama took office, Wright again became the subject of controversy when he accused “they JewsFor not allowing him to meet the president. Warnock maintained that he had never defended anyone’s anti-Semitic comments, in a appearance on MSNBC earlier this month.

Insider trading allegations

Democrats criticized Senator Perdue, an incumbent in office since 2015, for stock transactions that have sparked allegations of insider trading.

In one case, the Department of Justice investigated Perdue into a particular transaction in shares of financial company Cardlytics, where Perdue once served on the board of directors. FBI agents questioned the senator in June about unspecified financial transactions. However, investigators concluded that the senator had not received any non-public information, people familiar with the investigation told the New York Times.

The DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission “promptly and independently cleared Senator Perdue of any wrongdoing,” Perdue spokesman John Burke said in comments to Times.

Jon Ossoff and Bernie Sanders

Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, praised the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), The socialist gadfly who was beaten by Biden in the most recent Democratic primary and lost to Hillary Clinton in the previous nomination contest democrat.

“I appreciate the senator’s support and look forward to working with him to fight for a minimum wage of $ 15, to put the interests of working families ahead of corporate lobbyists in Washington,” [and] to face this climate crisis and invest in clean energy, ”said Ossoff CNN on Sunday.

Ossoff ran for a seat in the House of 32 in Georgiand district in 2017, losing in a second round to Republican Karen Handel by less than four percentage points. The progressive candidate came less than two points behind Senator Perdue in the 2020 general election, although both failed to reach 50% of the vote.

Kelly Loeffler’s Path to the Senate

Loeffler is a businesswoman appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp last year to replace Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired due to health concerns. Kemp resisted President Trump and his allies who wanted to nominate Rep. Doug Collins to the post, apparently believing Loeffler would win more suburban voters for the GOP.

Loeffler has since strongly supported the Republican legislative platform as well as the president throughout the impeachment process, while Collins has decided to run in the 2020 special election for the Issakson seat. Loeffler received 1,617,035 against Collins’ 980,454, and Collins has already backed Loeffler in the January second round against Warnock.

Georgia Senate Runoffs: What to Know

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National review online. He is a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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