Control of the United States Senate comes down to two United States Senate runoffs in Georgia. Republicans have an advantage, but Democrats are engaged while Republicans are squabbling with each other.
In Georgia, David Perdue received more votes than Donald Trump and got 49.74% of the vote. Libertarian Shane Hazel got 2.32% of the vote and his voters are not Jon Ossoff voters. Some of his voters will turn out for Perdue to ensure the United States Senate preserves the filibuster and as a check on gun control legislation. Notably, Jon Ossoff was unable to hold Joe Biden’s vote. While Perdue exceeded Trump’s vote. Ossoff never reached Biden’s level of the vote.
In the Loeffler-Warnock runoff, it is very likely that Loeffler could have cleared 50% in the initial race had Doug Collins not entered and kept the GOP message confused and divided. The Republicans on the special election ballot combined only got 35,533 less than Trump. Add in the Libertarian-leaning independent candidates and the right-of-center candidates got 45,533 votes more than President Trump — in other words, the right-of-center candidate exceeded 50% of the vote in that jungle election.
One of the persuasive messages for the GOP was using “defund the police” against the Democrats. Warnock and Ossoff have both associated themselves with “defund” supporters and Warnock has gone further by comparing police to dogs. Notably, Stacey Abrams refused to walk away from the “defund” language over the weekend when given an opportunity.
As is stereotypical to say, turnout is going to be key. There are a number of outside groups playing in the state to maximize that turnout for both sides, including Stacey Abrams’ group.
A lot of people want to know where to help. The Loeffler and Perdue teams are combining efforts. You can donate here, but I encourage you to provide a fake phone number to avoid harassing text messages. You can sign up to volunteer here.
The Republicans in Georgia are currently feuding and not very united. Some of the base has bought the idea that the Democrats stole the election and feel helpless. Most, thankfully, are not in that boat. But the Republican leaders are squabbling and fighting with the Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. They are blaming him for the chaos, though elections in Georgia are conducted at the local level.
The dynamic here needs to be understood. Raffensperger was not the favorite to win Secretary of State. There were a number of prominent Republicans who ran, but Raffensperger spent a lot and drove up a big win, defying a lot of predictions and consultants. Part of this is a lingering lack of disrespect for the Secretary of State and drawn out bad blood as he is perceived to march to the beat of his own drummer and is not a team player.
This too will pass. Expect Senator McConnell to exercise his clout behind the scenes to get everyone on the same page. The Senate races will decide the fate of the Senate and whether Schumer or McConnell is the Senate leader. The GOP has a better infrastructure in Georgia, but both Governor Brian Kemp and the would-be governor, Stacey Abrams, will be using the ground game fight as an advance run for 2022.
Nationwide, expect Democrats to pour money and manpower into Georgia. The GOP better step up too. The race is entirely winnable by the Republicans.