Donald Trump and Joe Biden will host dueling rallies in Georgia on the eve of two rounds that will determine control of the Senate as the president continues his increasingly brazen effort to overturn the 2020 election results.
Three million Georgia voters cast their ballots during the early voting period, which ended Thursday, a record for runoff elections in the state. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into the state as residents spent the past few weeks bombarded by political ads and outreach activities that encouraged them to vote in Tuesday’s election.
If the Democrats win both seats, it is not an easy feat, the Senate would be divided evenly, with Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, as the tiebreaker vote. If Republicans win at least one of the races, Mitch McConnell will remain the majority leader in the Senate, making it much more difficult for the president-elect to meet top political priorities like health care, taxes, and the weather.
Biden and Trump’s visits to the state on Monday highlight the urgency, and the stakes, of the twin races that will shape the political landscape during the first years of the incoming administration.
Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate in nearly three decades to win Georgia, where demographic shifts and political realignment in the Atlanta suburbs have turned this once reliably Republican southern state into a presidential battleground. Multiple recounts affirmed Biden’s victory by 11,779 votes in Georgia, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to amplify false claims about the state’s electoral process and its results.
In an hour-long phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, Trump implored him to “find 11,780 votes,” enough to reverse his defeat in the state’s presidential election.
The conversation, whose recording was first published by the Washington Post, may further hurt Republicans, who were already nervous that Trump’s fixation on his electoral defeat, based on meritless claims and discredited conspiracy theories about the election fraud, could depress turnout among his supporters. .
Racing has drawn the firepower of some of the biggest names in American politics. In addition to Trump and Biden, Barack Obama narrated an ad for Jon Ossoff while Michelle Obama recorded a message for the Reverend Raphael Warnock, the two Democratic contenders.
Mike Pence was in Milner, Georgia on Monday to campaign on behalf of Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. The vice president urged voters in the Rock Springs church to go to the polls Tuesday to protect the conservative victories Trump had achieved in the past four years.
“We need Georgia to defend the majority,” he said. “In one more day, we need people of faith who will support two leaders who will support life and liberty and liberty for every American. In one more day, we need to win Georgia and save America. “
Pence’s visit came a day after Harris held a drive-in with Democratic candidates Ossoff and Warnock in Savannah. In his comments, Harris attacked Trump for his call with the Georgia secretary of state, calling it a “blatant and audacious abuse of power” and “without question, the voice of despair.”
Loeffler is expected to appear with Trump at his rally Monday night in Dalton, a heavily Republican area in north Georgia that has had relatively low turnout during the early voting period. Perdue, who is in quarantine after being exposed to a staff member with the coronavirus, told Fox News that he would be attending Monday’s rally virtually.
Since the November election, Trump has continued his sustained attack on Georgia’s Republican leaders, whom he has accused without evidence of ignoring cases of voter fraud. He has relentlessly attacked Raffensperger, a Republican, who has resisted enormous pressure from the president and Republican leaders to subvert the election results. And last month, Trump called Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp a “fool” and said he should resign.
Trump’s attacks have further divided the party at the very moment they would benefit from unity. During a rally in Georgia last month, Trump spent considerably more time airing his own political grievances with the state’s Republican leaders than promoting the Republican candidates he was there to campaign for.
During his last visit to the state, Biden warned that Perdue and Loeffler would be “roadblocks” in the Senate, more focused on obstructing a Democratic administration than working to achieve results for Georgia. A vote for Ossoff and Warnock, Biden said, was a “vote for two US senators who know how to say the word ‘yes’ and not just ‘no.’
Perdue, who has served a Senate term, and Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat in December 2019, have largely embraced that characterization, warning voters that they are the last line of defense against a “radical liberal agenda. ”.
In an appearance in Fox News MondayPerdue said he doubted the Trump-Raffensperger conversation would have any impact on the election and seemed more dismayed that participants on the call leaked the recording, a decision he called “disgusting.”
Perdue previously said he supported an effort led by a group of Republican senators to indulge Trump’s desperate attempts to stay in power by objecting to the results of elections in various states when Congress votes this week. “I’m encouraging my colleagues to object,” Perdue said during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. “This is something the American people are demanding right now.”
Perdue’s term expired on Sunday and therefore he will not vote on Wednesday, when Congress meets to certify the results of the Electoral College.
Loeffler, who has made loyalty to Trump a central theme of his campaign, declined to answer the question directly. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Loeffler said he was “seriously looking at” the plot, backed by nearly a quarter of Senate Republicans but did not pledge to support it.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism