If both Georgia Senate Democrats win, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break the Senate’s 50-50 tie on votes and Democrats will control the US Senate. If one or neither does, Republicans will keep control of the Senate and the ability to pause President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda for at least two years.
"Like climate changes, this runoff election is indicative of major shifts coming in our government and world and I welcome this hopeful change for a better democracy,” says Letitia Owens, who moved from Gary, Indiana to Atlanta in 1984, helping to fuel Georgia’s demographic shift that is making many Georgians hopeful for another Democratic victory after Joe Biden’s victory November 3.
However, TIME magazine reports that Democrats do not have history on their side.
Only two states conduct general election runoffs to select federal and state-level offices; both are former Confederate states: Georgia and Louisiana.
Typically, Republicans outperform Democrats in run-offs. In 2008, as Barack Obama won re-election and lost Georgia, almost 3.8 million votes were cast in the first round of voting. When a December runoff arrived, 2.1 million voters showed up, a 55% drop-off. But among Republicans, the drop-off was just 41% to Democrats’ 63%.
Only two states conduct general election runoffs to select federal and state-level offices; both are former Confederate states: Georgia and Louisiana. The two states, with large Black populations, require runoff elections in a general election when no candidate receives a majority of the vote. Mississippi, the Blackest state in the Union, may join them after voting this November to discontinue an acknowledged even more racist, complex, election system.
The differences between the Democratic and Republican candidates in the Georgia runoff are not that unique, but are very stark. Revered Raphael Warnock has been bold in making it clear that he is of the church and inclusive. “I am a pro-choice pastor, and I'm deeply proud of it,” he says in emails seeking financial support. Just last month, his opponent, Kelly Loeffler, voted to confirm Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, strengthening a conservative majority that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
Loeffler, who the Washington Post says is the wealthiest U.S. senator, also opposes ObamaCare. Warnock added that his opponent is “attacking me for my demand that, in the richest nation in the world, health care – reproductive health care included
– be treated as a human right.” She writes, “Democrats are desperate to destroy everything that President Trump built. If they defeat me and flip the Senate blue, they will pack the Supreme Court, raise taxes, defund the police, and kill American jobs.”
Jon Ossoff, like many who align themselves with Democrats, supports expanding health care, clean energy, defending Roe v. Wade, and criminal justice and political reform. His opponent, incumbent David Perdue, earned an F, a score of 7 out of 100, from the NAACP Civil Rights Legislative Report Card
. In an email solicitation for donations, Perdue asserts, “he (Ossoff) is nothing but a puppet of the Left.”
“We have to beat both of them,” said Stacey Abrams of Fair Fight
on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “Mitch McConnell is not a good leader. He is not a good man. We cannot withstand four more years of blocking and denying the needs of Americans.”
Like Abrams, Owens sees that this runoff, which unlike the others, will have national implications and be different. “People are energized again about making a difference," added Owens.
Note: Here are the key dates in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections