Georgia GOP Senate Candidates Must Work Overtime and Supporters Must Commit to Voting in Order to Win Runoff

2020 has shown that Democrats have the ability to regain their once impenetrable status in Georgia politics, and the implications are huge!

Democrats in Georgia are now reinvigorated after former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a very narrow lead after a statewide recount of the 2020 presidential votes. President Trump is the first Republican presidential candidate to lose the state of Georgia since former President George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.

We’re not in Georgia anymore

Georgia has changed a lot since 1992. But we don’t even have to go back to 1992 to see a lot of change. Just go back to 2012, when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney defeated incumbent President Barack Obama by a comfortable 8 percentage points in the state.

In recent years, Georgia’s urban population has grown and its citizens are becoming more diverse each year. In 2018, we saw a close race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial race. Kemp won that election, but by the slimmest margin (less than 1.5%) of any Republican gubernatorial victory since the GOP regained control of the governor’s mansion in 2002.

2020 has shown that Democrats have the ability to regain their once impenetrable status in Georgia politics, and the implications are huge!

Republican Sen. David Perdue is running for re-election and couldn’t avoid a runoff with challenger Jon Ossoff, despite receiving more votes than Ossoff did in the general election. To avoid a runoff in statewide races in Georgia, a candidate must garner more than 50 percent of the votes.

In addition, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler who was constitutionally appointed by Gov. Kemp earlier this year in the wake of the resignation of former Sen. Johnny Isakson, faces a runoff with Democrat challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Can the polls be trusted?

Polls show that both the Perdue-Ossoff race and the Loeffler-Warnock race are in a dead heat. Polls in the presidential race in Georgia weren’t too far off the mark from the actual results. Some polls had Biden with a slight lead while others showed Trump with a slight lead. Overall, presidential polls showed Georgia with a very tight race. Election results in the two senate races matched up to pre-election polling. While polling in other parts of the nation was not as reliable, there is no reason so far to discount post-Election Day polling in the two senate races.

Signs of hope for Democrat candidates

President Trump continues to assert that the 2020 election was corrupted by fraudulent votes—in Georgia and elsewhere. Many Republicans and Trump supporters continue to assert that if the election had been fair and free of fraud, that Trump would have won in a landslide. President Trump and many of his supporters have questioned the legitimacy and security of electronic voting machines used in Georgia and in other states, and some are even turning against Gov. Kemp, who enjoyed strong support among conservatives until recent months. This brings to light another challenge facing Sen. Perdue and Sen. Loeffler—will Republicans feel it’s worth the effort to vote in droves again, or will they think that it doesn’t really matter? If they don’t trust the election process, they may already feel defeated.

In the post-Election Day era, Democrats seem to have the advantage in getting the word out through advertisements, while the GOP seems to be trying to catch up, recycling pre-Election Day imagery (including Perdue walking through a field wearing a faded denim jacket) and rhetoric in their ads. The ads seem to cast Warnock and Ossoff as more connected with the voters and their concerns, and especially in the case of Warnock, more personable.

Republicans have resorted to resurrecting 2008’s failed attempt to link the opposition to Jeremiah Wright and his controversial sermons, hoping it will dissuade on-the-fence voters (are there any of those left?) to vote for Loeffler instead of Warnock.

Signs of hope for Republican candidates

I believe Republicans are facing an uphill battle in holding these seats. But the news isn’t all bad for Loeffler and Perdue. They’re getting on-the-ground help from national Republican leaders to encourage their supporters to vote. Campaign stops have been well attended by a weary and virus-burdened electorate. Historically, Republicans tend to turn out in higher numbers in runoff elections than Democrats do. And Perdue and Loeffler are making an effort to run as sort of a combo ticket in an effort to drive their supporters to vote for one another.

Republicans have a lot of hard work ahead to maintain control of these two seats, but if they are diligent, are effective in reaching voters, and improve their messaging soon, they have the ability to win.

The country’s future depends on Georgia

The U.S. Senate and the future of our country depend on the results in the upcoming January 5, 2021 runoff in Georgia. Currently, the Senate in 2021 is expected to have 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, not including whatever happens in Georgia. If Democrats win both Georgia seats, incoming Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be able to break any ties in the Senate in favor of the incoming Biden Administration. For Republicans to have any shot of being effective in promoting their policies and views on a national level, they must win both seats as a buffer against moderate Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney and Sen. Susan Collins, and to slow down the leftist agenda of the next administration.

“We are the firewall. Not just for the Senate, but the future of our country,” Loeffler said at a recent campaign event in north Georgia.

Georgians have until December 7 to register to vote in the upcoming runoff if they aren’t already registered. Register to vote or check your registration status.

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