Over one month after the 2020 General Election, control of the United States Senate remains in the balance. Two Senate runoff elections will be held on January 5, 2021 to determine which party controls the Senate, and what course will be set for the nation for at least the next two years.
Because no candidate in either Senate race in Georgia won 50% of the vote in the November 3 elections, by Georgia law, runoff elections will be held between the top two candidates in both races.
During the general election, Republicans won 50 seats in the U.S. Senate while Democrats clinched 48. If Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on January 20th, with California Senator Kamala Harris serving as his vice president, she will gain the power to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate should Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats. This would hand Democrats control of a united government.
Much is on the line for both parties come January 5. That much was clear in the debate between incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat challenger Raphael Warnock on Sunday, December 6 that was hosted by Atlanta Press Club.
“The President was also clear, that Georgians need to come out and vote for David Perdue and myself because of what’s at stake in this election,” Senator Loeffler began in her opening remarks, responding to a question about Georgia’s still-contested presidential results. “Chuck Schumer said, ‘Now we take Georgia, then we take America…’ I’m making sure we don’t go down the road of socialism.”
“Here’s a kid who grew up in public housing. I’m running for the United States Senate against the wealthiest member of Congress,” Reverend Warnock said, responding to his first question. “Only in America is that possible.”
Reverend Warnock is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, the same church Martin Luther King Jr. pastored with his father, Martin Luther King Sr., until King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Responding to Warnock’s assertion that she is the wealthiest member of Congress, Senator Loeffler said, “I was born and raised on a farm. I grew up working in the fields. I waitressed my way through school, and I was the first in my family to graduate from college. I worked hard to live the American dream and became a job creator right here in Georgia.”
“But this type of rhetoric is a distraction from the issue at hand. The Democrats want to fundamentally change America, and the agent of change is my opponent, radical liberal Raphael Warnock,” Loeffler charged.
Responding to a question from one of the moderators that he has made controversial statements from the pulpit, Reverend Warnock said, “It’s clear to me that my opponent is going to work really hard, spending millions of dollars of her own money, trying to push a narrative about me, because she’s clearly decided that she does not have a case to be made for why she should stay in that seat.”
Speaking to the issue of abortion, Loeffler said, “I’m not going to be lectured by someone who uses the Bible to justify abortion.”
Warnock responded, “I have a profound reverence for life, and an abiding respect for choice. The question is, whose decision is it? And I happen to think that a patient’s room is too small a place for a woman, a doctor and the U.S. government. I think that’s too many people in the room.”
In the other Georgia runoff debate, Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff spoke to an empty room alone on the stage after incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue chose not to participate. Perdue was “represented by an empty podium,” in the words of the debate’s moderator.
Defending the senator’s decision not to participate in any runoff debates, Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry said, “We’ve already had two debates in this election. We’re going to take our message about what’s at stake if Democrats have total control of Congress directly to the people.”
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Screenshot from YouTube