Georgia election: everything you need to know about the main Senate second-round races

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All eyes are on the southern state of Georgia, where the future of the US Senate will be decided this week. Here is all you need to know.
There are two races and voting has been taking place since mid-December.
The outcome will be crucial for what new Democratic President Joe Biden can achieve in his first term.
Wait, another American election? Wasn’t all of this done in November?

Why are there elections in Georgia?

According to state rules, a winning candidate needs 50% of the vote and in November no one made it.
So the first two move on to a replay on January 5 – a so-called second round.

image copyrightEPA

legendRaphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff are the Democratic candidates for Georgia’s seats

Who runs in Georgia?

In both races, we have a Republican incumbent versus a Democratic newcomer.

Senator David Perdue, 70, vs. Jon Ossoff, 33

Mr. Lost has been a Georgian senator since 2015. The former CEO of Reebok was an early supporter of Donald Trump and has remained an ally of the president. He now faces scrutiny of multi-million dollar stock trading in companies whose activities fall within his purview on Senate committees. He denied the wrongdoing.
Mr. Ossoff launched his campaign with the support of civil rights champion John Lewis, who died this summer. Before taking the reins of a documentary film company, Insight TWI, he spent five years working for Congressman Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Atlanta. He used his directorial skills on the runway, launching campaign accounts on Snapchat and TikTok.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, 50, vs. Reverend Raphael Warnock, 51
Mme Loeffler, the young Georgian senator, is still a political novice. She was appointed to the United States Senate in December 2019 by Governor Brian Kemp following the resignation of the sitting senator. One of the wealthiest members of the Senate, Ms. Loeffler is a co-owner of the NBA’s women’s team, Atlanta Dream. The property caused a stir after league players asked Ms Loeffler to sell her stake for her vocal opposition to Black Lives Matter.
Rév Warnock is a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. With rising Democratic star Stacey Abrams, he started the New Georgia Project, a voting rights organization. The group is currently under investigation by Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State for allegedly sending voting requests to non-residents.
Kelly Loeffler et David Perdueimage copyrightReuters
legendSenators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are the names of the Republican Party

Why are the elections in Georgia so important?

The upper house of the US Congress, the Senate, has been controlled by the Republican Party since 2014.
It is very important to get the laws passed, to confirm cabinet appointments and to bring Supreme Court judges into the bench of the highest court.
If Democrats win in Georgia, the two additional seats would give them effective control.
Each party would have 50 senators and it is increasingly rare for senators to vote against their party.
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks at a rally supporting Democratic candidates for the US Senate,image copyrightAFP via Getty Images
legendUS Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held recent rally in the state
Technically, there are currently 46 Democrats and two independent senators – Bernie Sanders and Angus King – but they generally vote with the Democrats.
Thus, in a 50-50 tie, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris would have the deciding vote in her role as Speaker of the Senate.

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Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, journalist for North America

If Democrats pick up both seats and forge a 50-50 tie in the Upper House, it is far from certain that Biden will be able to enact the kind of sweeping environmental, health and economic legislation that ‘he proposed during his successful presidential election. campaign.

The narrowness of the margin will ensure that any law will have to be supported by centrists like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and the two senators from Arizona.
It will, however, give the new president a chance to fight for legislative achievements – and make it considerably easier for him to appoint federal government officials and judges of his choice.
If the Republicans hold on, it would mean two more years of divided government and, possibly, a legislative deadlock. Democratic hopes will rest on the whims of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a handful of moderate Republicans.
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How did the campaign in Georgia go?

A huge sum of money was paid for all four candidates, but record numbers for the Democrats.
The Loeffler-Warnock race received more media attention, in part because it was more spirited and vocal.
She accuses him of being a “radical liberal” who courts Marxism and wants to defeat the police.
He’s sticking to a cute, centrist Democratic message of pandemic relief and healthcare.
With his MLK Jr ties, Reverend Warnock is well known to African Americans and the state has a higher proportion of black voters than the average US state.

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The state has about 52% non-Latino whites and 33% blacks, according to 2019 census data.
Black residents accounted for nearly half of the 1.9 million increase in Georgia’s electoral population since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2019, 2.5 million black voters made up one-third of Georgia’s total electorate.
Biden-Harris’s victory in the state was the first time in 30 years that Georgia went to a Democratic presidential candidate.
The day before the election, President Donald Trump organized a rally in support of the two Republicans, urging them to surrender. Mr. Perdue, however, participated virtually after coming into contact with someone positive for Covid. He and his wife tested negative, but remained in quarantine.
President-elect Joe Biden also campaigned on behalf of both Democrats on Jan.4, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris visiting the state a day earlier.

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Who wins in Georgia?

A Democrat hasn’t won a Senate race in Georgia in decades, so it will be a tough fight for them.
Republican candidates also won more votes in both races when it was a wider field in November.
But Mr. Biden narrowly won the presidential race there by tapping into an effective campaign to vote among African Americans.

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Voting began weeks ago and early indications point to a high turnout, possibly a record for a runoff in the state.

The counting of the ballots will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday after the polls have closed, although there may be a wait for the results.
Polls show a very close competition in both races, even with less than a day left, although many view the polls with skepticism as they missed the mark in the presidential election.
A number of top pollsters have also chosen not to cover the races in the second round.
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