Runoff elections to decide US Senate control

Tuesday, January 5

Both President-elect Joe Biden and outgoing President Donald Trump held rallies Monday in the U.S. state of Georgia, where two runoff elections Tuesday will determine whether Republicans or Democrats control power in the U.S. Senate.

The outcome of the high stakes Senate races will dramatically shape the legislative maneuvering for the first half of Biden’s four-year term in the White House.

Biden told a drive-in rally in Atlanta on Monday afternoon that voters in Georgia will “chart the course, not just for the next four years, but for the next generation.”

He said Georgians had voted in record numbers in the presidential election in November, giving him a narrow win in the state.

“Now, we need you to vote again in record numbers,” he said.

Trump campaigned later Monday in a heavily Republican enclave in Dalton in the northern part of the state, continuing his broadsides against Georgia elections officials for refusing to overturn his narrow loss to Biden in the state in the November 3 election.

"There's no way we lost Georgia," Trump said. "...I had two elections. I won both of them," Trump falsely told his crowd.

Trump has claimed the November election was “rigged" and urged Republicans to “swamp” the polls Tuesday.

"The Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you cannot let them," Trump said. “You just can’t let them steal the U.S. Senate, you can’t let it happen.”

Trump stumped for the two incumbent Republicans, Sen. David Perdue, a one-time business executive, and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, one of the wealthiest lawmakers in the United States.

Biden campaigned for the two Democrats, Jon Ossoff, a television documentary producer who is facing Perdue, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Baptist minister who faces Loeffler.

Polls show the two Democrats with slight edges in the contests, both of which were made necessary because none of the four candidates won a majority in the November balloting. 

Georgia is a historically Republican state. Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win there since 1992.

The eventual voter turnout for the Senate elections is expected to be exceptionally high, with more than 3 million ballots already cast in early voting, two-thirds in person at polling places throughout the state and a third by mail.

A Republican victory in either or both of the Georgia elections would give the party an outright majority and the right to set the Senate agenda and hold a majority on all Senate legislative committees.