On Friday before the country’s decisive runoff elections, former President Barack Obama will run for the two Georgian Senate Democrats.
It is announced as a virtual “get-out-the-vote” rally to be held ahead of the December 7 deadline for voter registration in the state and the start of early voting on December 14. Obama will appear alongside Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, as well as former governor candidate Stacey Abrams and Congressman-elect Nikema Williams.
Anyone interested in attending the rally, which begins at 14:45 east time, can register online via the website of the Democratic Party of Georgia. A live stream will also be available on the party’s YouTube and Facebook pages to follow the discussion.
In a statement, Ossoff said the event “will inspire this historic nationwide movement to achieve record voter turnout so that we can end this COVID crisis, provide affordable health care for all Georgians and pass a new civil rights law.
Warnock said he was “deeply honored” to have Obama’s support and to be able to discuss the problems facing the state.
“We need leaders in Washington who are committed to putting the people first,” he said in a statement. “Health care is on the ballot, help for those affected by the coronavirus is on the ballot, voting rights are on the ballot, and that is why we need every Georgian to commit and help with the vote.
Obama personally campaigned for Warnock and Ossoff in the run-up to the parliamentary elections on November 3. However, since none of the Senate candidates has crossed the 50 percent threshold, the races will be decided by a run-off vote next year.
The outcome of the Senate runoffs will determine which party will control the upper chamber in the next Congress. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler will run against Warnock, and Republican Senator David Perdue will run against Ossoff in the runoffs on January 5.
For now, based on the election results, Republicans will control at least 50 seats in the next Senate, and Democrats will have 46 seats. Two independent senators will form a faction with the Democrats, bringing their total number to 48.
Should both Ossoff and Warnock win their runoffs, party control in the Senate would be split 50-50. The Democratic vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, would then be responsible for casting a tied vote if the House is blocked on legislation.
Since Obama is virtually blunt to the Democrats, Republicans will be having face-to-face talks with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence this weekend. Pence will join Perdue and Loeffler in a “Defend the Majority Rally” in Savannah on Friday. Trump will be holding a “Defend the Majority Rally” at the Valdosta Regional Airport on Saturday.
But Georgian republicans have expressed concern that Trump’s ongoing attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 elections-which he still refuses to acknowledge-will reduce turnout in the Senate elections. The president has repeatedly criticized Georgian Governor Brian Kemp, falsely insisting that he won the state and that electoral fraud was widespread. His accusations were supported by Loeffler and Perdue. As a result, threats were made against the state’s election workers.
In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Deputy Governor Geoff Duncan urged the President and the Republican Party to change their approach after the elections.
“In the short term, we run the risk of alienating voters for our Senate election, which is coming up for Senator Loeffler and Senator Perdue, and we need them,” Duncan said. “As a Republican, I want them in this Senate.”