Georgia is heading for a recount in the presidential election since there are still some absentee, provisional, and overseas military ballots left to count (98% of votes in the state have been counted so far) and Joe Biden holds a small 11,000 vote lead over President Donald Trump.
Beyond the presidential election, both senate elections in the Peach State have resulted in runoffs, meaning no candidate obtained 50% of the vote. The runoff elections will take place on January 5, with early in-person voting beginning on December 14. By the actual election date in January, Trump’s litigation should have concluded, and Americans should (hopefully) know who their president will be come January 20, 2021. Even with legal challenges and some uncertainty (the media has called the election for Biden even though Trump hasn’t exhausted his legal options), the White House won’t be on the ticket, which could change the races drastically.
Even with Trump and Biden at the top of the ticket, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) nearly avoided a runoff by capturing 49.7% of the vote. His opponent, Democrat Jon Ossoff, previously ran for and lost a special election in 2017 for a congressional seat in one of the most expensive House races in history. Millions of dollars flowed into the state from outside liberal groups, yet Ossoff still lost.
Without Trump on the ballot, Ossoff will have a hard time running for election. He has spent the last three years basing his campaign on criticism of Trump. If Biden is indeed the next president of the United States, Ossoff won’t have Trump to kick around. Georgia is also still a pretty red state even with its status as a battleground in 2020, and Ossoff will have to distance himself from Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of him since abortion isn’t that popular in the state. He also has to tread carefully when it comes to discussing police, as most of the state won’t be accepting of the “defund the police” message even though Atlanta was one of the cities caught up in the protests and riots over police shootings.
In short, Ossoff is at a severe disadvantage heading into the runoff, and liberal groups pouring millions into senate races haven’t ended well for them in 2020.
As for the other senate race in Georgia, a special election for Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) to keep the seat she was appointed to after former Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned due to health issues, Democrats will also struggle.
Twenty people ran in the special election, yet in reality only three candidates gained any traction. Of those three, two were Republicans, meaning the Republican vote was largely split. Had Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) not run, Loeffler would have easily garnered 45% of the vote, still not enough to avoid a runoff, but far more than Democrat candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock’s 32.9%. Adding up the votes for each of the myriad candidates, Republicans came out slightly ahead with 49.3% of the vote to Democrats’ 48.4%. The remaining votes went to Independent candidates.
With just Loeffler and Warnock on the ballot — not Trump or Biden — it’s difficult to see how Democrats make up ground. Not as many people will vote in the runoffs as they did in the presidential election, and that usually helps Republicans. Still, maybe Stacey Abrams truly has defeated the voter suppression that led to record turnout in her failed 2018 bid for governor and will lead the Democrats to victory in the state. It’s unlikely, given Biden possibly squeaking by in the state, but it could still happen.