Georgia Senate Runoff: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Stumps for Kelly Loeffler

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Georgia Senate Runoff: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Stumps for Kelly Loeffler” – below is their description.

Georgia’s Senate run-off elections arrive Tuesday after a whirlwind two-month campaign that smashed fundraising records, inspired historic voter turnout, bombarded the airwaves with ads, and loomed over congressional negotiations on major spending legislation.

The stakes may never have been higher in such a narrow election. Amid President Donald Trump’s incessant attacks on Georgia’s election integrity, four people are seeking two seats that will determine which party controls the Senate. For President-elect Joe Biden, nothing less than his entire agenda is on the table.

Those high stakes are underscored by planned visits on Monday by Trump and Biden, repeat appearances for both the outgoing and incoming presidents.

“Something like this has never happened before and probably never will again,” said University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock. “Two seats, from one state, in one election, that will decide Senate control. It’s just unprecedented.”

During the final week of the campaign, the events ranged from small, tightly controlled get-togethers to drive-in rallies. Voters said they understood the broader significance of these races — and the circumstances surrounding them.

Democrat Terri Sapp, 47, said she voted early “because I just didn’t want to risk the chance that something might happen to me first,” and to “fire” Republican Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader.

Trump has focused his attention in the state not on the Republican candidates or the future of the Senate, but almost entirely on his baseless claims that voter fraud caused Biden to win the state in November by a little more than 12,000 votes. Some Republicans fear he may throw the election to the Democrats by demanding the resignation of Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans.

If Democrat Jon Ossoff can beat first-term GOP Senator David Perdue, and fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock can defeat Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, the Senate will be split 50-50 between the parties. If that happens, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast any tie-breaking vote, effectively flipping control of the chamber to Democrats.

But a victory by either Republican would give McConnell 51 votes, a slim majority but enough to curtail Biden’s initiatives and block key nominations to his cabinet and the judiciary.

Perdue’s chance for last-minute barnstorming was curtailed after he decided to quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, meaning he’ll likely skip Trump’s Monday rally and his own event on election night.

Limited polling in the state shows both races are extremely close while drawing intense interest. More than 70,000 new voters have registered in Georgia since Nov. 3. More than 2.8 million people had cast ballots as of Thursday, shattering the previous record for the December 2008 Senate runoff, when 2.1 million votes were cast.

Although Georgia doesn’t register voters by party, the locations of heavy early voting in urban and minority areas suggests strong Democratic turnout. But Republicans tend to vote in person on Election Day so it’s difficult to predict an outcome.

The results won’t be known for days, given that it took 10 days to call the Nov. 3 election in Georgia. And those counts will almost certainly face legal challenges.

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