The struggle for victory in the Senate is intensifying in Georgia, where the runoff elections in January will decide which party will control the upper budget of Congress.
With just over a month to go to the polls, Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have a small lead over incumbent Republican senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
A recent survey by SurveyUSA and 11Alive shows that Ossoff has a two percentage point lead, 50 percent over Perdue’s 48 percent, and Warnock has a seven percentage point lead, 52 percent over Loeffler’s 45 percent.
The pollsters point out, however, that Ossoff’s slight lead only shows how crucial each vote will be in the vote count.
Polls in the run-up to the November 3 general elections, in which no candidate received a majority of the votes in either of the two senate elections, showed that Ossoff was in the lead, but Perdue ended up receiving about 86,000 more votes, leaving him 0.3 percent short of the required 0.3 percent to keep his seat.
Warnock’s larger lead reflects his advantage in last month’s special elections. The Democrat received 32.9 percent of the vote, seven points more than Loeffler with 25.9 percent.
White voters give the two Republican senators a slight lead, with 43 points for Perdue and 37 points for Loeffler, while black voters give their Democratic counterparts a much larger lead, with 87 points for Ossoff and 83 points for Warnock.
All four candidates have their party base firmly in hand. Warnock has the greatest influence on the Democratic base with 97 percent.
If the Republicans can keep either seat, majority leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP will retain control of the Senate. However, if the Democrats succeed in losing both seats, the 50-50 balance will be broken by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, giving the Democrats control of the White House and both houses of Congress.
The significance of the runoff elections in Georgia is not lost for both parties, who are intensifying their election campaign, and for the election workers, who are coming under increasing pressure due to President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
Although Trump’s allies advise Georgians not to participate in the crucial runoff elections until their votes are “safe” and the president is pushing for the runoff to be “cancelled,” Trump is scheduled to appear at a campaign rally with Perdue and Loeffler in Valdosta on Saturday.
One day before the president’s public appearance, former Barack Obama and former governor-candidate Stacey Abrams will also be competing for the Democratic Party candidates at an event in Atlanta.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend a rally for the two Republican senators in Savannah on Friday.
Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his family have faced death threats for defending the state’s election process and confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Peach State. Last month, Perdue and Loeffler demanded his resignation, which was fought off by Raffensperger.
On Tuesday, one of Raffensperger’s associates, election manager Gabriel Sterling, urged Trump to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence” after one of his campaign lawyers called for the execution of a former head of cyber-security for election security.
The deadline for voter registration for the elections in Georgia expires on Monday, December 7.