There are only seven weeks until the January 5 runoff in Georgia, an election that will determine which party has the power in the Senate.
In both Georgia Senate races on the November 3 ballot, no candidate received 50% of the vote, which forced a runoff as mandated under Georgia state law. Now, Republican incumbent and Trump stooge Sen. Kelly Loeffler is up against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. The other Republican incumbent/Trump stooge Sen. David Perdue is again duking it out with the much thirsted after Democrat Jon Ossoff. It will be a long, brutal slog to the finish line.
I've rounded up some of the biggest updates on what's shaping up to be "the center of the political universe":
Perdue doesn't want to debate Ossoff this time around: While Ossoff's campaign has accepted six debate invitations from now to the runoff on January 5, the Perdue campaign has already declined a December 6 debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club and indicated that they weren't accepting any moving forward.
“We’re going to take our message about what’s at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people,”said Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry. HOWEVER. His "no" doesn't mean the debate won't happen. Since Ossoff agreed to participate, APC's rules stipulate that the debate can continue—Perdue will just be represented by an empty podium. It's the type of symbolism that I'm betting Ossoff's campaign will gleefully run with.
Warnock has also issued a three debate challenge to Loeffler: He's still waiting to hear back.
Facebook's vague Election Day political ad ban is making Democrats and Republicans rethink their campaigning strategy: The social media behemoth originally put the ban in place to limit disinformation about the election, but never gave it an official end date. Facebook is now saying that they'll keep the ban until mid-December, but that's of no use to the Senate races in Georgia that need the ads now. This means that Dems are considering a return to in-person canvassing while both parties are pressuring Facebook to reverse course.
There are a lot of Dem operatives in Georgia trying to figure out Twitch right now: In Georgia, 17-year-olds are allowed to register to vote as long as they turn 18 before the election. There are around 23,000 Georgian teens who were ineligible to vote in the presidential election but are eligible to vote in the January runoff. Now the race is on for progressives to get these kids registered and voting. Grassroots organizations are currently turning to Twitch live streams, mobile games, and social media to get out the vote. While the total teen vote is too small to definitively close the gaps for both Ossoff and Warnock, every vote counts in this race. I also love the idea of Gen Z clinching this victory for the nation.
Warnock would like to remind the country that this runoff isn't about Senate control, but "about the people of Georgia": While appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Warnock tried to distance himself and his campaign from Democratic Party at large. Both he and Ossoff have used this first week of runoff campaigning to focus on saving health care, careful to focus their messaging on issues that are important to Georgians while taking the national heat off the voters.
"Chuck Schumer's name is certainly not on the ballot," he said. "I will tell you what is on the ballot. Health care is on the ballot—access to affordable health care. We have got 500,000 Georgians in the Medicaid gap. We have got 1.8 million Georgians with preexisting conditions."
“I know personally the importance of good federal policy, combined with personal responsibility, work, grit, and determination … This race is about the people of Georgia.”
- Democratic candidate @ReverendWarnock reflects on the Georgia Senate race gaining national attention. pic.twitter.com/ZwpsHAxDFH
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 15, 2020
Don't move to Georgia just to vote in the runoff because it's a felony: On Friday, Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger warned non-Georgians not to move to the state solely for the purpose of voting in their runoff election in January. That's voter fraud, baby.
"It is a felony to vote in Georgia if you are not a resident of Georgia with no intention of leaving and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $100,000 fine," he said in a statement. The announcement comes on the heels of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang announcing his intention to move down to Georgia to help with the runoff.
“If you illegally participate in our elections, you might be spending a lot more time in Georgia than you planned,” Raffensperger warned. Yang, you hear that?