Focus turns to Senate races in Georgia after Biden officially becomes president

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President Elect Joe Biden

Crusader Staff Report

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned in Georgia Tuesday, December 15, one day after being officially declared president by the Electoral College, winning 306 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 232.

The campaign continues for Biden, who after the Electoral College’s decision, turned to Georgia, where early voting started December 14 for two critical Senate races in Georgia that will climax with a January 5 election.

The runoff races will determine which political party will control the U.S. Senate in the president-elect’s first term.

Republican incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are in a tough battle against Democratic opponents Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who are running on a wave of optimism after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.

Tensions have been escalating since November 3, when Perdue and Loeffler failed to win by 50 percent of the vote against two Democrats who were considered long shots before they forced their incumbent opponents in the runoffs.

Ossoff is a former congressional candidate for the U.S. House. Warnock is a minister at the historically Black Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King preached.

With concerns of low voter turnout in a non-presidential election, Democratic leaders have turned up get-out-the vote campaigns while Republicans have pumped millions of political contributions that have fueled a media blitz that tried to paint Ossoff and Warnock as dangerous radical socialists. It’s the same strategy Trump used against Biden before he lost by seven million votes to the Delaware Senator and former vice president.

With Trump out of the White House, both Senate races in Georgia have become critical, high-stakes campaigns that will have a major impact on President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to execute his legislative agenda after he takes office January 20.

So far, Republicans have a 50-48 majority when the new Senate convenes January 3. If Republicans win one or both Georgia Senate seats two days later, they will increase their majority. If Democrats capture the two seats, they will regain control of the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote.

For Democrats, Biden’s win in Georgia is a sign that the red state’s political climate is shifting after years of changing demographics, attitudes on racial justice and political activism, sparked by former gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and her pioneering efforts to register new voters.

Basking in Biden’s victory, Abram’s efforts will be put to the test again in the Peach State in the Senate runoff races.

Earlier this month, Loeffler and Warnock squared off in a local, televised debate that arguably failed to produce a dominant candidate. In interviews with the press, Loeffler has refused to answer questions about whether Trump should concede, saying the president has the right to question the results of the election.

Loeffler and Perdue have called for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for sticking to beliefs that the state’s elections were clean. On December 14, Loeffler and Perdue demanded Raffensperger “compile and release a final list of newly registered voters” ahead of Georgia’s Senate runoffs on January 5. Raffensperger called their actions “embarrassing.”

During the campaign season, Perdue deliberately mispronounced Kamala’s name repeatedly during a rally before apologizing and saying it was a mistake. He later refused to face Ossoff during a locally televised debate where his podium was left empty.

Loeffler this year was under fire after WNBA players mounted a campaign to kick her out as part owner of the Dream Team. Loeffler has repeatedly voiced her belief that Black Lives Matter signs and messages have no place in the league.

Last weekend, a photo emerged showing Loeffler posing with Chester Doles, a neo-Nazi and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. The photo was reportedly taken December 11 at a campaign event in Dawsonville, Georgia, and then spread on social media over the weekend.

In news reports, Loeffler said she “had no idea who he was and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for.”

That same day, about 25 conservative Black pastors, many of them from Georgia, sent a letter to a Democratic Senate candidate urging him to reconsider his pro-life stance on abortion.

The letter was signed by 16 pastors from churches around Georgia, and nine pastors from out of state. No Savannah clergy signed the letter.

“Abortion decimates Black communities, disrupts Black families and inflicts untold harm on Black women,” the pastors wrote. “Black women and Black families need your advocacy; they need your protection, and they need your support.

“As a pastor who speaks for the Christian community, we implore you to speak the plain truth about a practice as barbaric and destructive as abortion,” the letter reads.

In response, Warnock said as a Christian leader, his pro-choice abortion stance aligns with the Democratic Party.

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