Georgia will hold two runoff elections in early January to determine which candidates will secure the two Senate seats
BY SUDIKSHA KOCHI STAFF WRITER
Georgia will be holding two runoff races on Jan. 5 to determine who will gain control of the Senate seats after neither candidate in the two contests were able to secure over half of the votes during the first race. These races will affect which party will gain control of the Senate and whether President-elect Joe Biden will come into his term with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress.
Republican Senator David Perdue will face off against Democrat Jon Ossoff in the first race, with the main topic of discussion being COVID-19. According to the Associated Press, Ossoff argued that Perdue has mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that Perdue “lacks empathy for problems everyday Americans are facing.”
“We need a government that is honest and competent and that empowers public health experts in a public health emergency,” Ossoff said.
Meanwhile, Perdue argued that Ossoff is pursuing a “radical socialist agenda” and being a “rubber stamp” for liberals.
“What we really did is we brought help to the people of Georgia, both in the hospitals, schools, communities and in the workplace,” Perdue said.
According to CNBC, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock will face off in the second race to replace Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired early due to health challenges last year. Loeffler temporarily replaced Isakson, but with three years left in Isakson’s term, this race will determine who will take his seat.
Sophomore Communication major Kirk Knutsen expressed his opinion on the runoffs, saying that the races are the best-case scenario for Ossoff and Warnock.
“While many Republicans were willing to vote across party lines for Biden, the same can’t be said for the Senate,” Knutsen said. “Both Perdue and Loeffler are not as bombastic as the president and are able to secure more traditional Republican votes.”
Knutsen believes that neither Democrat will be able to flip a seat come January.
“Warnock made it through due to the conditions of the special election, and Perdue didn’t win because of Libertarian votes keeping him from securing a majority,” Knutsen said. “I think Libertarians are going to be more likely to vote red in the January runoff.”
Knutsen said that the runoffs will most likely change the framework of the Senate.
“The Senate has been responsible for much of the gridlock for the past few years — keeping Supreme Court justices out, rejecting COVID relief bills, etc. If both seats, or even one, were able to flip blue, it would tremendously reduce the power that Senate Republicans have been abusing,” Knutsen said.
Knutsen feels that the runoffs are probably not the best solution, but there is value to them.
“A candidate should represent at least the majority of their constituents, and I don’t think someone should be elected without at least more than 50 percent of the vote,” Knutsen said.
Alumnus Joshua Young believes that moving forward, it is better for Democrats to spend time in Georgia than in Florida.
“Demographically speaking, Georgia has more of the white-collar middle-class suburban voters the Democrats have been trying to appeal to recently, while Florida voters are more likely to be very rich or very poor,” Young said. “The Democrats have been trying to use the Florida strategy for a while and it just doesn’t seem to be working.”