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Georgia Senate runoffs rattle political world

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 4:49 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- With Reverend Raphael Warnock projected to beat GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler, Democrats are feeling hopeful about their odds of retaking control of the U.S. Senate. Right now, Republican Senator David Perdue is trailing Jon Ossoff, and the Democratic challenger claimed victory Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon, the AP projects that Ossoff would defeat Perdue.

It’s a new year, and the Georgia Senate special elections likely bring big changes around Capitol Hill.

“President Biden and vice-president elect Harris will have a partner in me and my caucus who is ready willing and able to help achieve a forward-looking agenda and deliver bold change,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the projected Senate Democratic Majority Leader.

If both seats are flipped in Georgia, an incoming Biden administration would likely have the votes to push through cabinet and judicial picks. Georgia Republican Congressman Buddy Carter says he’s concerned Democrats can now pass hard left polices that will hurt the economy.

“For Georgia and for the country, I don’t think it’s good,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA).

A Democrat has not represented the Peach State in the Senate since 2002. It’s a blow to the Republican Party in Georgia, which has dominated Peach State politics state-wide for decades. Carter said while the AP called the race for Warnock, he was still waiting on all the votes to be counted or from a concession from Perdue before making any final assessments.

“Obviously, we have to review what happened and what we can do better next time,” said Carter. “But it’s still a little bit too early I think to start the blame game.”

Senate Democrats say their priority is on COVID-19 relief, with a push on approving $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said in a statement: “The Georgia Senate results are good news for Americans tired of Washington dysfunction; a Democratic majority will undoubtedly make it easier for President Biden to govern.”

“Georgians were motivated, maybe Democrats a little bit more motivated than republicans,” said University of Georgia political science professor, Charles Bullock.

Bullock says these tight races in November and in the runoffs solidify the Peach State as a key swing state.

“We will be a competitive state between democrats and republicans but it looks like we’re also probably going to be a state in which we have good levels of participation,” said Bullock.

Bullock says it’s possible the election results are certified later this week. He added that incoming members of Congress are not seated until election results are finalized.

More than 4.5 million Georgians voted in the Senate runoffs, which is the highest turn-out in a runoff in the state. The only higher participation rate in a Georgia election happened in the Nov. 2020 races.

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