- BBC World News
All eyes are on the southern state of Georgia, where the future of the United States Senate will be decided on Tuesday with the election of the two senators who will represent this territory.
But not only that, the result will have important implications in the development of the presidency of Joe Biden and in how much the Democrat will be able to achieve in his first term.
Why are these elections in Georgia?
Under the rules of that state, for a candidate for senator to be declared the winner needs 50% of the votes and in November none got them.
Then, the two candidates who got the most votes went on to a kind of second round that takes place on January 5.
Who are the candidates in Georgia?
In both races, we have a Republican in office facing a Democratic candidate.
On one side are Republican Senator David Perdue, 70, versus Democrat Jon Scoff, 33.
Perdue has served as a senator from Georgia since 2015. The former CEO of Reebok was one of Donald Trump’s early supporters and has remained an ally of the president.
Now he faces heavy scrutiny for carrying out some transactions in the shares of companies whose scope of business falls under his purview on the Senate committees of which he is a part. He has denied having committed any crime.
Scoff launched his campaign with the endorsement of civil rights defender John Lewis, who died in July.
Before taking the reins of documentary production company Insight TWI, he worked for Congressman Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Atlanta, for five years.
His youth is one of his strengths, although his rivals accuse him of lack of experience.
On the other hand, these are the senadora republican Kelly Loeffler, of 50 years, who faces the reverendo Raphael Warnock, of 51.
Loeffler, the senator junior from Georgia, she is still perceived as a newcomer to politics. She was appointed to the United States Senate in December 2019 by Governor Brian Kemp after the sitting senator resigned.
Is one of the richest senators. She is the co-owner of the NB A women’s team Atlanta Dream. Given his opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, league players asked him to sell their stake.
Reverend Warnock is pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where preached civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Along with rising Democratic star Stacey Abrams, he started the New Georgia Project, an organization to promote the right to vote. The group is being investigated by the Georgia Secretary of State for allegedly sending vote requests to non-residents.
Why are elections so important in Georgia?
The upper house of the United States Congress, the Senate, has been controlled by the Republican party since 2014.
This instance is key for the approval of laws and the confirmation of the appointments of the cabinet and the judges of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country.
If the Democrats win in Georgia, the two additional seats they would give them effective control of the Senate.
Each party would have 50 senators and in case of a tie the Democratic vice president Kamala Harris would have the deciding vote.
Analysis by Anthony Further, BBC Washington DC correspondent
If Democrats win both seats and achieve a 50-50 tie in the upper house, it is not certain that Biden will be able to enact the kind of radical legislation he proposed during his successful presidential campaign on issues such as the environment, health care and the economy.
The narrow margin will ensure that any law has to be supported by Democratic senators centrists.
However, it will give the new president the opportunity to fight for legislative achievements and will make it much easier for him to appoint the government officials and federal judges of his choice.
If the Republicans manage to retain control of the Senate, that would mean two more years of divided government and probably legislative stalemate.
How has the campaign been in Georgia?
A lot of money has been invested in the campaigns of the four candidates, but the Democrats have posted record numbers.
The Loeffler- Warnock race has received more media attention, in part because it has been more energetic and vocal.
The senator accuses Warnock of being a “radical liberal” who courts Marxism and wants to stop funding the police.
Warnock, for his part, adheres to a fairly centrist Democratic message that emphasizes the need to confront the coronavirus pandemic and provide health care to the population.
Given his ties to Martin Luther King Jr, the reverend is well-known to African- Americans in a state that has a higher proportion of black voters than the average states in the country.
Georgia has about a 52% of population blanca no latina, in front of a 32% of the black population, according to the 2019 census data.
Black residents accounted for nearly half of the 1.9 million increase in Georgia’s voting population since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center.
In 2019, 2.5 million black voters made up one-third of that state’s total electorate.
Biden-Harris’ victory in November was the first in 30 years in Georgia for a Democratic presidential ticket.
Who ehas the advantage in Georgia?
No Democratic candidate has won the Senate race in Georgia in decades, so it will be an uphill fight for them.
The two candidates Republicans got more votes in both Senate races when they were held in November.
But Biden narrowly won in Georgia in the presidential race by leveraging an effective campaign to get African Americans out to vote.
The polls show very tight competition in both races, although some doubt the reliability of the polls.
Voting by mail began weeks ago and early indications suggest a high turnout, possibly a record for a second round in the state.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.