Two Georgia Runoff Races Will Decide Which Party Controls the Senate

 Two Georgia Runoff Races Will Decide Which Party Controls the Senate

The political battle of the United States will now move to the state of Georgia where two runoff races hold a considerable significance in future policies as they will decide which party will rule the Senate for the next two years. Because Republican Senators were not able to draw a majority of the vote on Election Day, their fate will be decided by a rematch scheduled for January 5th, 2021. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R) will be facing Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) and Senator David Perdue (R) will have to beat Jon Ossoff (D) to get back in Washington. The outcome of the Georgia Senate runoffs will decide if the new president will have broad powers to carry out his policy changes and make appointments. The Biden administration needs to have a Democratic Senate to make the reforms they promised during the presidential campaign.

“If either Republican, Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue, is reelected, then Mitch McConnell will retain control of the Senate, and the kind of plenary obstruction he posed to Barack Obama’s agenda after Republicans won the Senate in 2010 is likely to return.”

Ed Kilgore, Intelligencer

For a long time, the Democratic Party has been applying a conservative strategy in Georgia to get the state, but the strategy has consistently failed. Democrats have now shifted to a more progressive strategy, presenting Ossoff and Warnock as ‘emblems of the party’s diversity.’ Ossoff is expected to appeal to the younger generation of Georgia with his liberal views and progressive strategies; while Warnock is popular among the Black population in a state that is home to nearly 33 percent of the population of Black Americans. With Democratic backing, both candidates are running a joint campaign. 

The Senate election is organized in such a way that one state’s two seats are never up for re-election at the same time. However, this has been an unusual year for Georgia. The Republican Senator David Perdue was up for re-election for the seat he won in 2014; while Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler was appointed last year to succeed Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired due to health issues. Loeffler is up for a special election to serve the remaining term until 2022. Both of these races are up for runoffs because neither of these incumbents nor their challengers attained 50 percent of the votes. 

Early voting in Georgia’s runoff elections indicate a historic turnout that’s higher than any other Georgia Senate runoff race since 2008—including 80,000 people who didn’t vote in last month’s November election. However, because Georgia doesn’t register its voters by party, it’s difficult to determine who’s leading in early voting.

More than 2.5 million Georgians have already voted either through mail-in ballots or early in-person voting locations.

Georgia has steadily held its position as a deep red state mainly due to Republican voter suppression tactics and the Democrats failing to reach underrepresented and disenfranchised voters. Thanks to the work of Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project (both organizations founded by Stacey Abrams), 800,000 new voters were registered in 2020. By a margin of only 14,000 votes, Georgia flipped to blue for the first time since 1992. Now, Warnock and Ossoff have joined hands in hopes of winning both Georgia races—and Republicans will have to fight to maintain control of the Senate.

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María Guillén

María Guillén

María is a writer, serial city dweller, and founder of Policybae. She's passionate about social justice advocacy, organizing action, and mobilizing change around sociopolitical issues. María holds a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University and a dual degree in Public Relations and Communication Studies from Rowan University. Follow María on Twitter: @_mariaguillen

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