Georgia on Our Minds

Control of the Senate comes down to a single battleground state and two of the most expensive Senate races in history.

Races for Georgia’s two Senate seats will determine the balance of power in the Senate for the next Congress. The races will be determined in a runoff on January 5 since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote last week, the required threshold under Georgia law.

In a special election for one of Georgia’s Senate seats, appointed Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler will face Reverend Raphael Warnock (D), while incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue will face Jon Ossoff (D) for the other Senate seat.

If both Warnock and Ossoff win their respective runoff races, the Senate will be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Kamala Harris (D) as the projected tiebreaker in any party-line votes.

While Georgia’s presidential vote is undergoing a recount due to the slim margin between Biden and President Donald Trump, Biden’s current lead and Democrats’ competitiveness in the state have thrust Georgia into the national spotlight as a newfound battleground state. Due to the high stakes of these races for both Republicans and Democrats, spending is expected to exceed $200 million leading up to the runoffs.

The surge in votes for Democrats in the state can be attributed, in part, to substantial voter registration efforts over the past few years helmed by 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as well as encouragement to vote by mail. 

Last week’s elections saw record numbers of votes cast across the U.S.despite a raging pandemic and record infection and hospitalization rates leading up to the election. An unprecedented number of ballots were cast by mail or in person prior to Election Day, and although these voting methods were new in some states, ballots were processed and counted largely without issue.