It's less than a month 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.
Here's the latest on what's happening in what's become "the center of the political universe":
Yesterday marked the last day to register to vote in the Georgia runoffs: Voters in the state have already requested more than 940,000 mail-in ballots for the runoffs. For comparison, voters requested 1,322,529 absentee ballots in the 2020 general.
U.S. bank lobby dropped $1 million on ads for Perdue: The American Bankers Association likely sees Perdue, who sits on the Senate Banking Committee, and a Republican-led Senate as more friendly to Wall Street interests. This ad drop brings the total ad expenditure by the four candidates' campaign and outside interest groups to $310 million.
Republican Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling made an appearance on The New York Times' The Daily podcast: Last week, the voting system implementation manager went off on both President Trump and other Republican leaders for not condemning the threats and harassment directed at 2020 election workers. Today's episode of The Daily interviewed Sterling about his decision to speak up.
I know we must take polls with a grain of salt: But in a recent SurveyUSA poll, Warnock leads Loeffler by 7 points—52% to her 45%. Ossoff is leading Perdue 50% to 48%. Both Republicans are predictably doing better with men and white voters, while the Dems are leading with women and Black people. Five Thirty Eight has Ossoff leading by 0.8 points (48.7% to 47.9%) and Warnock ahead by 2.2 points (49.2% to 47.0%). Read their more detailed breakdown of the polls here.
On Saturday, Trump headed on down to Valdosta, Georgia for his first post-election campaign rally: While still refusing to concede the race, the president's speech was a heady mixture of false claims about Georgia's rigged election system and pleas to his base to vote in the runoff. "If you don't vote, the socialists and the communists win," he said. The GOP is fighting an uphill battle against election fraud conspiracies started by their own side. These views were most prominently touted by Sidney Powell, a lawyer who was part of the Trump campaign's election legal team until very recently. Trump directly addressed those conspiracies: "Friends of mine say we are not going to vote because we are angry about the presidential election," Trump said. "Don't listen to my friends."
The president also carved out time to attack fellow Republicans: Specifically, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for refusing to overturn Biden's win in the state in his favor. “Your governor could stop it easily if he knew what the hell he was doing," he told his audience.
Trump resumes talking after Loeffler and Perdue, but instead of plugging them he starts back in with whining and lying about the election being stolen from him. He then attacks the Georgia secretary of state and governor, both Republicans. pic.twitter.com/4hGOWbSFed
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 6, 2020
On Sunday, Warnock and Loeffler participated in the first and only debate of the runoff election: Loeffler spent the debate looking like her brain was holding her hostage. Notably, she would not say Trump lost the presidential election. “The president has every right to every legal recourse and that's what's taking place,” she said to avoid giving an explicit answer. Loeffler repeatedly attacked her opponent as a "radical liberal," while Warnock attacked her over her stock transactions she made at the beginning of the pandemic. Warnock also hedged on answering questions about expanding the Supreme Court, saying he's "really not focused on it." One of the only points both the candidates agreed to was taking a COVID-19 vaccine when made available. More debate highlights here.
Meanwhile: An empty podium represented Perdue after he refused to participate in his debate with Ossoff. The Democratic candidate obviously took this opportunity and ran with it, calling Perdue a coward. "Your senator is refusing to answer questions and debate his opponent because he believes he shouldn't have to," said Ossoff. "He believes this Senate seat belongs to him. This Senate seat belongs to the people." Watching the moderator introduce an empty lectern feels very 2020:
Loeffler's campaign aide died in a car crash: 20-year-old Harrison Deal, who served as Loeffler's Athens Regional Field Director, died in a fiery car accident on Friday. The crash happened before a campaign rally in Savannah for Loeffler and Perdue. Both Loeffler and Governor Brian Kemp, who is a family friend of Deal, skipped the rally. "It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Harrison Deal," tweeted Loeffler. "My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead. Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team."
Georgia election officials are investigating a Florida lawyer who potentially registered to vote in the state illegally: The lawyer apparently went online to register to vote in Georgia by using his brother's address in Hiram, GA. His registration was left pending as he could not provide a Georgia driver's license number or any other proof of address, reports NBC News. The lawyer was also caught on video during a November 7 rally urging others to do the same, which he says was just a joke. Registering to vote with no intention to stay is a felony in the state of Georgia.
Let's look at an ad: Earlier this week, the Ossoff campaign debuted a new ad narrated by Obama (who put on a sort of Southern accent?) aimed at Black voters in Georgia, tying the Democratic candidate to the late Rep. John Lewis. "If we vote like our lives depend on it, because they do, we will elect Jon Ossoff to the United States Senate."