Georgia Senate runoffs: Polls shut as America awaits outcomes of essential races

Polls are closed in Georgia after two months of fierce campaigning in two runoff U.S. Senate elections that put the state underneath an unprecedented microscope with the steadiness of energy within the upper chamber on the road. 

All that is still is for the votes to be counted. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., is operating for reelection towards Democrat opponent Raphael Warnock. Republican David Perdue, whose Senate time period expired Sunday, has an opportunity to win reelection towards his challenger, Democrat Jon Ossoff. 

About $500 billion was spent between the 2 races, amounting to a few of the most costly two months of nonpresidential politics in American historical past. Boldface political names from throughout the spectrum made their Peach State pilgrimages to stump for his or her respective occasion’s candidates, together with a bevy of different senators, U.S. representatives and former presidential candidates. 

If that was not sufficient to underscore the significance of the race, present, former and future presidents and vice presidents additionally stumped for Loeffler and Perdue, or Warnock and Ossoff, respectively. 

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., speaking as President Trump listened during a campaign rally Jan. 4.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., talking as President Trump listened throughout a marketing campaign rally Jan. 4.
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

LIVE UPDATES: PERDUE, LOEFFLER ‘ENCOURAGED BY HIGH TURNOUT IN GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFFS

President Trump, Vice President Pence, President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Pence and former President Obama all held not less than one rally in Georgia. Pence, Trump, Pence and Biden all had been within the state Monday. Harris was there Sunday. 

“Everything that we’ve achieved together is on the line,” Trump stated Monday. 

“Unlike any time in my career, one state, one state can chart the course, not just the next four years, but for the next generation,” Biden stated, additionally Monday. 

In the November elections, Republicans gained sufficient Senate races to manage 50 seats within the chamber. That means in the event that they win even one of many races on Tuesday, Republicans will maintain a majority within the physique for the subsequent two years. If their caucus stays united, they will have an efficient veto over a lot of Biden’s agenda. That agenda, Republicans have stated, could be a transformational far-left plan to alter the nation. 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaking at a drive-in rally in Savannah, Ga., during a campaign stop Jan. 3.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris talking at a drive-in rally in Savannah, Ga., throughout a marketing campaign cease Jan. 3.
(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

“You heard Joe Biden just today say that this is a generational election. What does he mean by that? Well, it’s exactly what [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer said. Take Georgia and change America,” Perdue, a former businessman, stated on Fox News‘ “Special Report” Monday. “[Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.] said, no, we want to win those two seats because we do not want to negotiate. They want the Green New Deal without compromise.”

If Democrats sweep each races, nevertheless, they are going to carry the Senate to an efficient 50-50 tie. That would imply Harris would be capable of break ties on votes falling alongside occasion traces. 

However, within the occasion of a 50-50 tie, the state of affairs within the Senate could be considerably extra difficult than Democrats with the ability to move no matter they need.

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In the previous, Republican and Democrat leaders have labored out power-sharing agreements when the physique was tied 50-50. Any laws must get previous a filibuster. And with such tight margins, the steadiness of energy has generally even modified inside a single Congress — one thing not solely out of the query given the quantity of septuagenarians and octagenarians in Congress. 

Jon Ossoff speaking after voting early in Atlanta on Dec. 22.

Jon Ossoff talking after voting early in Atlanta on Dec. 22.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Moe Vela, a former senior adviser to Biden when he was the vp, advised Fox News that regardless of the result in Georgia, he believes Biden will be capable of negotiate with Republicans to get not less than a few of his agenda throughout the end line. 

“I disagree with most people’s assessment of the impact of today’s races. I don’t think that they are going to alter the president-elect’s agenda initiatives,” Vela stated. “For 40-something years, over 45 years, if you go back and look at this man’s career… this man knows how to work with people who don’t always agree with him. This man knows how to build bridges with people who have different ideologies, different perspectives.”

But however, victories for Warnock and Ossoff Tuesday would give Democrats a determined upper-hand whereas one win for both Loeffler or Perdue would permit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to maintain a grip on the job he is held since 2015. 

Rev. Raphael Warnock at a rally Dec. 21 in Columbus, Ga.

Rev. Raphael Warnock at a rally Dec. 21 in Columbus, Ga.
(AP Photo/Ben Gray)

YOUR FOX NEWS GUIDE TO GEORGIA’S SENATE RUNOFF ELECTIONS

As outcomes roll in Tuesday, whether or not the state sees greater turnout can be key. Republicans are relying on heavy Election Day turnout in rural areas, notably in North Georgia. That’s the place Trump’s rally was Monday. 

A senior GOP marketing campaign staffer advised Fox News that if Republicans may prove 1 million GOP Election Day votes, they imagine they will win the election. Perdue and Loeffler, in the meantime, launched a joint assertion saying they had been seeing good numbers within the precincts that matter to them. 

“We are encouraged by reports of high voter turnout across the state – particularly so in North Georgia, where President Trump rallied Republicans last night,” the assertion stated. “But make no mistake about it: this is going to a very close election and could come down to the difference of just a few votes in a few precincts across the state.”

But, if turnout in city areas is in the identical ballpark as that in rural areas Tuesday, Democrats could maintain the sting. Democrats historically win bigger margins in early voting ballots and mail-in ballots. 

“We’ve seen amazing turnout,” Warnock, the pastor on the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, stated earlier Tuesday. “Over three million folks have already voted. That’s good news.”

Specifically, over 1 million mail ballots had been returned and over 2 million folks took benefit of Georgia’s in-person early voting. 

Underscoring the urgency on either side, Republicans had been sending textual content messages and making calls to their supporters telling them to get in line at polling locations even into the 6 p.m. hour Tuesday. 

 GEORGIA’S SENATE RUNOFF WINNERS MAY NOT BE KNOWN TONIGHT

The race has been as nationalized as any U.S. Senate race in historical past. Rivers of out-of-state cash and assist have flowed for every candidate. Ossoff, a former congressional staffer and the present CEO of a documentary movie firm, has taken to telling voters that the Biden agenda was achievable — however provided that voters picked him and Warnock. 

David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler at a campaign rally Dec. 21 in Milton, Ga.

David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler at a marketing campaign rally Dec. 21 in Milton, Ga.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“We can pass a historic infrastructure plan that includes massive investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, and environmental protection,” he tweeted. “But we need to win the Senate.”

“We can pass $2000 relief checks for the people,” he wrote in one other put up, “but we have to win this Senate election.”

Ossoff additionally beforehand ran in an especially costly particular election for the U.S. House in Georgia however misplaced to former Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga. 

Meanwhile, Loeffler, the part-owner of Atlanta’s WNBA franchise, has shifted her method to politics up to now yr to align as a lot with Trump as doable and prove his base. Loeffler, when she was first appointed to her seat in 2019, was chosen by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp over the objections of Trump, who wished Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., to switch retired Sen. Danny Isakson, R-Ga. 

Loeffler has now stated she is going to object to the certification of electoral votes for Biden on Wednesday and has referred to as for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — a Kemp ally — all whereas Trump has promised to marketing campaign towards Kemp in 2022. 

“I have an announcement, Georgia. On Jan. 6, I will object to the Electoral College vote,” Loeffler stated at Trump’s rally Monday. “This president fought for us, we’re fighting for him.”

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Depending on how shut the races are, it may take into Wednesday and even longer earlier than there are definitive winners. This is partially due to the variety of mail ballots the state might want to rely, that are extra bodily laborious to tally than conventional in-person ballots. 

Georgia took a number of days earlier than there was a definitive winner within the presidential race in November as a result of the outcomes had been so shut — Biden gained by barely lower than 12,000 votes, a margin confirmed by a number of recounts. An analogous state of affairs is feasible for the Senate races. 

Fox News‘ Chad Pergram, Peter Doocy, Stephanie Bennett and Robert Sherman contributed to this report. 

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