By: Enzo Whetton
In America’s extremely divided political landscape, all eyes have turned to Georgia and its Senate elections. Georgia, a state with two seats up for grabs, held its elections in November, concurrent with the Presidential election where Georgia voted for Joe Biden. Biden’s victory has given Democrats hope that they can win the two seats. The two incumbent senators, Kelly Loeffler (R) and David Perdue (R), faced off against Democrats Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.
This race has great implications in the Senate, as it will decide which party controls the chamber. Discounting the two outstanding elections, the Republican party holds a 50-48 majority over Democrats and Independents. Should either Loeffler or Perdue win their runoff, Republicans will maintain control of the senate. The Democrats need both of their candidates to win in order to tie the balance of power. Should this occur, Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris would break all ties in the Senate post inauguration day.
Because none of the candidates could garner 50% of the vote, the threshold necessary to claim victory, there has to be a runoff election between the candidates on January 5th. With just two parties in the election, one candidate will earn at least 50% of the vote. In November, Perdue earned 49.7% of the vote, nearly two points higher than Ossoff who received 47.9%. In the election between Warnock and Loeffler, 20 candidates were on the ballot, which led Warnock to 32.9% of the vote and Loeffler to 25.9%. While Warnock did gain the most votes, the third place finisher, Republican Doug Collins, earned 20%.
In the election between Ossoff and Perdue, the runoff results look to be as close as the original. Some polls show Ossoff winning, while others give Perdue the edge. Poor publicity has been surrounding Perdue, however, as he refused to debate Ossoff, who instead chose to debate an empty podium on December 6. There are also reports of Perdue using insider knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic to sell stock before the economy tanked due to the virus. This occurred while Perdue downplayed the virus and its impact. Ossoff is doing everything he can to gain ground from early November, even using social media such as TikTok to appeal to voters.
Similar to Perdue, Senator Loeffler is also accused of insider trading with information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Warnock’s record is not clean, either. The candidate has had allegations of abuse thrown his way, though charges and allegations have been dismissed. In many polls, Warnock is holding a narrow lead over Loeffler, though some polls lean in favor of the incumbent.
Both of these tightly contested elections will have massive implications on America’s political landscape, though the results will not be known until January. Registration to vote has ended in Georgia, and early voting begins December 14. The only thing to do now is wait.