georgia runoff
December 15, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden didn't hold back Tuesday while campaigning for Georgia's Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Atlanta.

Biden criticized their incumbent opponents, Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), primarily for allowing President Trump to go unchecked while challenging the state's presidential election votes despite having no evidence of widespread voter fraud. "You know who did nothing while Trump, Texas, and others were trying to wipe out every single one of the almost 5 million votes you had cast here in Georgia in November?," Biden asked during the campaign event. "Your two Republican senators."

Loeffler and Perdue, Biden said, "fully embraced" the case brought to the Supreme Court by Texas which sought to overturn election results in key swing states like Georgia before sarcastically remarking that perhaps the lawmakers "were just confused" and think they represent the Lone Star State. "Well, if they want to do the bidding of Texas, they should be running in Texas, not in Georgia," he said. Tim O'Donnell

December 7, 2020

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and her Democratic challenger, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, faced off in a debate Sunday night, during which she would not say that President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud are false and Warnock defended previous remarks about abortion.

Loeffler called Warnock a "radical liberal" more than a dozen times, while Warnock brought up Loeffler's stock trades at the beginning of the pandemic. Loeffler is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, and when asked if lawmakers should be "barred from trading stocks," she didn't answer, instead claiming that allegations against her are conspiracies.

Loeffler was asked about comments she made about the Black Lives Matter movement, when she referred to it as "fascist." Loeffler responded that the "life of every African American is important and there is no place for racism in this country, but there are organizations whose No. 1 goal is to defund the police. And we know that that hurts minority communities more than anyone."

Warnock said that the demonstrators who took to the streets over the summer to protest the deaths of unarmed Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were from all races and backgrounds, and Loeffler didn't take the time to understand this "multiracial coalition of conscience." Instead, Warnock said, Loeffler used her "enormous privilege and power as a United States senator to pick a fight with the Black women on her team." Loeffler is a co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, and in response to her Black Lives Matter remarks, the players wore Warnock shirts during games.

Regarding abortion, Warnock — a senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church — explained why he is pro-choice, saying he thinks that "the patient's room is too small a place for a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. government." He added that he's "concerned about life," and believes everyone who is should "be focused on the incredibly high rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality in our country when compared to other developed nations. That's something the government could work on. And I've been working on it my entire career."

Georgia's Senate seats are both up for grabs in the Jan. 5 runoff election, which will determine control of the Senate, and Warnock reminded voters that "health care is on the ballot, workers are on the ballot, voting rights is on the ballot, criminal justice reform is on the ballot." Catherine Garcia

December 6, 2020

President Trump on Saturday night spent a lot of his Valdosta, Georgia, rally for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) pushing unfounded claims of election fraud, and otherwise veering far off topic, but he did intermittently make it clear that he wanted Republicans to head to the polls on Jan. 5 and vote for the two senators, both of whom are facing Democratic challengers.

If the Democrats win, Trump said, "we will have total Socialist one-party control," warning of "draconian military cuts," a "war on American energy," and the end of religious liberty. Therefore, he wants Republicans to "show up and vote in record numbers" next month, despite any distrust in the electoral process they may have.

There was concern among some Georgia Republicans that Trump's focus on widespread fraud allegations — for which he and his legal team have been unable to provide any evidence — would discourage rally attendees from casting their ballots in the runoffs, but at least some members of the crowd appeared convinced they should vote, The Wall Street Journal reports. "We were worried about voting, but we're going to show up," one rallygoer told the Journal. "Otherwise, what are we going to do, let them win by a landslide?" Read more at Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

December 5, 2020

President Trump is heading to Georgia on Saturday to stump for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), worrying some Republicans in the state.

Matt Towery, a former Georgia GOP legislator who is now a political analyst and pollster, told Reuters that Trump's rally could be a boost for the senators — who are both facing Democratic challengers in separate runoffs that will determine which party controls the upper chamber in the early stages of the Biden administration — "if he spends most of his time talking about the two candidates, how wonderful they are, what they've achieved." But if he centers the rally around his election defeat, pushing his unfounded claims of voter fraud and "telling everyone how terrible" Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is, Towery worries the president could wind up exacerbating Republican voters' fears of election tampering, prompting them to stay home in January.

That's been the challenge over the last few weeks for Loeffler, Perdue, and the Republican Party, who have had to straddle the line between encouraging voters to go to the polls, while also entertaining Trump's allegations and refusing to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's win so as to avoid angering the president and his base. As Gabriel Sterling, a top election official and Republican who recently called out Trump for "inspiring" violence with his election fraud rhetoric, put it in an interview with The Atlantic, the senators "are stuck in a box and the president put them in it."

Vice President Mike Pence was in Georgia on Friday, urging voters to go to the polls despite their doubts. Trump may very well do the same, but he's also usually more liable to go off script than Pence. Read more at Reuters and The Atlantic. Tim O'Donnell

November 28, 2020

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Saturday held a pre-Georgia Senate runoff "meet and greet" at the Cobb County GOP office in Marietta, Georgia. CNN's DJ Judd, who was on the scene, reported that a fair amount of the conversation during the event revolved around President Trump, rather than Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), who are both in competitive races to retain their seats in the upper chamber.

Voters in attendance reportedly wanted to hear about general election recount efforts across the country, and one person asked McDaniel why Georgia voters should "trust" the runoff elections when they've "already been decided." McDaniel argued that they haven't been decided, and, in fact, look hopeful for Republicans at the moment, adding that "if you lose your faith and you don't vote ... that will decide it."

McDaniel remained upbeat throughout, and appeared to have strong support from the crowd by the end when she received a round of applause after telling the audience Trump would want them to get out and vote for Loeffler and Perdue. But the doubt-filled question did appear to highlight some of the challenges the party will face as the Trump campaign continues to push unfounded allegations of voter fraud. Tim O'Donnell

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