Biden rallies Democrats in Georgia to secure a Senate majority

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a campagin rally to support Democratic Senate candidates in Atlanta, Georgia on December 15, 2020.

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday urged voters in Georgia to deliver him a Senate majority by casting their ballots for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the state’s runoff elections.

Biden campaigned in the Peach State a day after early voting there got underway and the Electoral College finalized his own victory in the presidential race.

Ossoff and Warnock will face off against Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) on Jan. 5 in two races that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber. Democrats must win both seats to reach a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which would pave the way for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes. 

Speaking at an outdoor car rally in front of the Pullman Yard in Atlanta, Biden urged Democrats to not rest after delivering the state him in the presidential election, saying that he would need a Senate majority in order to achieve his agenda.

“Send me these two men and we’ll control the Senate and change the lives of the people of Georgia,” Biden said.

Democrats will have only a slim majority in the House after suffering unexpected losses in toss-up races across the country in 2020. If Republicans carry one of the two Senate races in Georgia, they’ll have a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Democrats are optimistic after Biden became the first presidential candidate to flip Georgia into their column since Bill Clinton won there in 1992.

But polls show the race is a tossup and Georgia is a historically red state.

Georgia has also been at the center of controversy since Biden narrowly defeated President Trump there in November by only about 10,000 votes.

Trump has refused to concede despite the multiple recounts reaffirming Biden’s victory in Georgia and the Electoral College certifying Biden’s 306-232 national victory on Monday.

Trump and his allies have made unsubstantiated claims about the election being stolen from him through widespread fraud. They’ve attacked the Republican leaders in Georgia, baselessly accusing them of colluding with Democrats to steal the election.

That’s led to some Republicans worrying the accusations will dissuade GOP voters from casting ballots in the race.

The Supreme Court recently refused to hear a case brought by Texas, which was signed by 18 GOP attorneys general and more than 100 Republican members of the House, seeking to have the election results tossed out in Georgia and three other states. 

Biden on Tuesday fumed at the lawsuit, and sought to energize Democrats to get out the vote because of it.

“Georgia wasn’t going to be bullied or silenced. Georgia certainly wasn’t going to stand by and let Donald Trump or the state of Texas or anyone else come in here and toss out your votes,” Biden said. 

“Your two Republican senators, they stood by. In fact your two Republican senators fully embraced what Texas was telling the Supreme Court. They fully embraced nullifying nearly 5 million Georgia votes. You might want to remember that come Jan. 5.” 

Biden’s trip to Atlanta was his first return to campaign politics since defeating Trump in November.

Trump campaigned for Loeffler and Perdue in Valdosta late last month, where he claimed the election had been “rigged” against him. Vice President Pence has also been traveling in Georgia.

The state has been flooded with outside money as both parties make a furious final push for control of the Senate.

More than 1.2 million Georgians have requested mail-in ballots for the runoff and there was record turnout for early voting, which began on Monday.

Ossoff and Warnock spoke ahead of Biden, casting themselves as key allies that will help him to get legislation through Congress. 

“We need to make sure Joe Biden can pass his agenda, because if Mitch McConnell controls the Senate, they’ll try to do to Joe Biden what they did to President Obama,” Ossoff said. “They’ll try to block the Covid relief we need, they’ll block the $15 minimum wage, block the civil rights and voting rights acts we need. We can’t let that happen, Georgia.”

Tags Bill Clinton David Perdue Donald Trump Georgia Georgia runoffs Joe Biden Kelly Loeffler Mitch McConnell Senate runoffs

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