Blue Wave Makes Landfall in Georgia Special Election

Democrats Win Both Contests, Control of Senate

With no candidates receiving majorities in the November elections, both of Georgia's Senate elections headed to January runoffs.

Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With no candidates receiving majorities in the November elections, both of Georgia’s Senate elections headed to January runoffs.

Tvisha Goel, News Editor

The Georgia Senate special election had unexpected results, flipping the state and control of the Senate, though by a very narrow margin, in favor of the Democrats. 

This election, a runoff, took place on January 5th, 2021. A runoff election occurs when no candidate meets the required threshold for victory in the first election, which is more than 50% of the votes. With candidates Jon Ossoff (D) running against incumbent Senator David Perdue (R) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D)  against incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler (R), the strategies employed were of utmost importance to determine whether or not the Democratic party would have full control of the legislative branch as an incoming Democratic President is sworn in on Jan. 20.  

Polling showed Ossoff was well-behind Purdue two months before the election, forcing the Democratic candidate to devise a strategy that could launch him ahead. Instead of relying on turning Perdue’s already-loyal voters, Ossoff focused his campaign on outreach to Black voters in the state, as well as to young voters, thereby betting the Senate majority on the mobilization of the Democratic party. In a January 7th article on Politico, Ossoff predicted, “If every Black voter who voted in November turns out, we will win.” 

Rev. Warnock, on the other hand, had foreseen attacks toward him for being a “radical”; in the early campaign runoff, Loeffler and other Republicans focused on Warnock’s sermons, accusing him of being anti-police and anti-military. Warnock created an advertisement featuring a puppy, to counter claims that he hates puppies. In the ad, he attacks Loeffler, saying that she has continuously misconstrued what he has said in the past 25 years of being a pastor instead of focusing on convincing Georgia voters that she is the better candidate. However, most of his ads remained positive, making sure his message did not divert from the betterment of Georgia to mere attacks on his opponent.  

The strategies of both Democratic candidates paid off, as both Democratic candidates were able to turn out black voters, thereby flip the Senate to a 50-50 divide with Vice-President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Much to the Republican party’s dismay, the Republican candidates were not able to amount to the turnout levels from November. 

The current narrow-margin majority the Democrats hold over the Senate will be put in jeopardy once again next year. Fmr. Sen. Loeffler was appointed by Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, and was sworn in on January 6, 2020, to fill the seat of Senator Johnny Isakson, who stepped down due to health reasons. Georgian law requires that when the governor decides to appoint someone to temporarily fill the vacant seat, that Senator has to run in the next special election, which happened to be in conjunction with the Presidential election. Now, Warnock has to carry out the rest of Isakson’s term, which is set to end in 2022. Regardless of this, the Democratic party has managed to flip a state that has long been turning up red and turn the Senate in their favor, making President-Elect Biden’s job a lot easier.

Raphael Warnock
Office of Senator Kelly Loeffler

The race to fill the remainder of the term of Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons last year, was hard-fought. In the end, Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senate Photographic Studio-Rebecca Hammel
The Circus on SHOWTIME

In the second of Georgia’s runoff elections,Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue. With his win, Ossoff becomes the first Millennial elected to the United States Senate.