The Georgia Senate runoff race is shaping up to be more significant than it initially seemed. As both parties are fighting it out for votes, residents of the state are turning out in what could be record numbers to support their chosen candidates.
Bloomberg reported that “nearly 1.5 million Georgia voters have already cast ballots in Senate runoff elections next month, signaling a competitive race that could break the record for runoff voting in the state set in 2008.”
Currently, Democrats are enjoying a small lead over Republicans. “Democrats have a slight advantage among those who have participated in early voting, which began Dec. 14, according to an analysis by TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm. The firm’s model shows 48.2% of early and absentee voters are likely Democrats, compared with 45.5% for Republicans.”
Democrats still seem confident that they can win both Senate seats and are buoyed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s supposed victory in the state. Still, the Republicans appear to be in an advantageous position. Bloomberg noted, “in the general election, Perdue led Ossoff 49.7% to 48%. The Loeffler-Warnock race was a special “jungle primary” to fill the seat vacated by Johnny Isakson. Warnock led 32.9% to Loeffler’s 25.9%. Republican Doug Collins came in third with 20%.”
While Loeffler might seem to be in a precarious position given that Warnock won a higher percentage of votes, it’s important to remember that the 20% who voted for Collins will be casting their votes for Loeffler. This means that it is probable that the GOP will win at least one seat, which means they will retain control of the Senate.
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have made appearances in the states to rally voters. Trump may make at least one more trip to Georgia to clinch a Republican victory.
Runoff elections tend to have lower turnouts, especially among minorities. But in this particular race, black voters are turning out at a higher percentage than they did in the general election. “But so far, early turnout among Black voters is even stronger than in the Nov. 3 general election, according to voting data compiled by Ryan Anderson of GeorgiaVotes.com. Black voters make up 32.1% of the runoff voters, compared with 27.8% in the general election,” Bloomberg noted.
This trend is likely due to the efforts of grassroots groups led by people like failed gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams. But both parties are on the ground hoping to motivate their bases to show up on Jan. 5, the day of the election.
As of Sunday, nearly 1.5 million voters have either voted early in person or mailed in ballots. There are still 677,147 outstanding absentee ballots. If all of these votes are returned, the runoff election will break the state’s previous record regarding runoff elections, even if nobody showed up on election day to vote.
These numbers show that voters are taking this particular runoff election more seriously than they have in the past. Both parties understand that the stakes in this election are quite high. Indeed, if the Democrats win both seats, it will make for a 50/50 split in the Senate. This means that in the event of a tied vote on a piece of legislation, Kamala Harris, who will likely be the vice president, will cast the decided vote, meaning that the left will have a significant advantage.
If the Democrats control both houses of Congress, Biden will have an easier time pushing his agenda, which will not bode well for the future of the country. However, the GOP manages to not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they can stand as an impediment to Biden’s plans
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