Biden heads to Georgia aiming to get Democrats a Senate majority
President-elect Joe Biden is traveling to Georgia on Tuesday, aiming to boost Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and propel Democrats to a majority in the upper chamber.
The trip to Atlanta will be Biden’s first campaign stop since he was deemed the winner of the presidential race last month and comes a day after the Electoral College made his victory over President Trump official.
The Senate runoffs taking place on Jan. 5 will decide the Senate majority for the next two years. Warnock is challenging Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Ossoff is facing off against Sen. David Perdue (R). Democrats need to win both seats in order to deadlock the Senate, in which case Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote.
A Biden campaign official said that, while in Georgia, “the President-elect will underscore what’s at stake for the country in the midst of a still worsening pandemic.”
“He will speak directly to Georgians’ ability to vote for change and lawmakers dedicated to getting help immediately to those who are suffering when they cast their ballots for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock,” the official continued. “The President-elect will also echo his message of unity and a battle for the soul of the nation that led to him getting 81 million votes across the country — more than any presidential candidate in history — and becoming the first Democrat in decades to win the state of Georgia during a presidential election.”
Georgia had been a reliably red state for decades, but Biden was able to top Trump by a slim margin — making him the first Democrat to win the Peach State since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Trump’s own baseless claims about election fraud and attacks on Georgia GOP leaders have left Republicans fearing his behavior could negatively impact the party in the runoffs.
Trump has attacked Georgia’s Republican leaders for not overturning Biden’s win, and on Sunday sought to preemptively blame Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for a loss in the Senate races while demanding he call a special legislative session.
“What a fool Governor @BrianKempGA of Georgia is. Could have been so easy, but now we have to do it the hard way. Demand this clown call a Special Session and open up signature verification, NOW. Otherwise, could be a bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th,” Trump tweeted.
Trump staged a campaign rally in Valdosta less than two weeks ago claiming that the state’s elections were “rigged.” Vice President Pence has also made near weekly trips to Georgia to help boost Republican fortunes in the runoffs. Democrats have put considerable muscle into the race as well, with former President Obama campaigning virtually for the candidates earlier this month and Biden’s trip on Tuesday.
Polls show a tight race between candidates in each of the two runoff elections. According to an average of polls by FiveThirtyEight, Warnock leads Loeffler by less than 2 percentage points and Ossoff leads Perdue by a single percentage point.
Early voting began on Monday in the Peach State, with shorter lines reported than during in-person voting in the November presidential election. More than 1.2 million Georgians requested mail-in ballots for the runoffs, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project.
Since he was projected winner of the presidential race on Nov. 7, Biden has spent much of his time in Wilmington, Del., delivering speeches about his plans for confronting the coronavirus pandemic and healing the ailing economy when he becomes president and periodically unveiling his appointees and nominees to top policy roles.
The Electoral College met on Monday and voted to affirm Biden’s victory, dealing another blow to Trump’s efforts to challenge the results. Biden delivered a speech Monday evening in which he declared that “democracy prevailed” and called for national unity as the nation continues to battle the pandemic, while tearing into Trump’s refusal to accept the results.
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