Two Senate Races in Georgia Will Decide Which Party Controls the Upper House

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With the 2020 Senate elections happening, the spotlight is closing in on Georgia. There are two Senate races happening in Georgia, one of which being a special election. David Perdue’s (R) seat is up for re-election because his term is up, and Kelly Loeffler is up for election after taking over in December 2019 for Johnny Isakson (R), who resigned due to health issues. This is different from most other states because both Senate seats are up for re-election at the same time; the only way this can happen is if someone resigns. On top of this, Georgia works on a 50% majority election policy. This means that if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, it goes into what is called a run-off election. In this process, candidates with the least amount of votes are eliminated and there’s a second election with the top two performing candidates. This aims to keep the public happy (not allowing someone who the majority of people didn’t vote for to get into office), as well as take a step toward a ranked-choice voting system.

This election is very important to our democracy and government because it decides which political party has a majority in the Senate. Mr. Bunyan, a history teacher at J-DHS, said, “This specific Senate race will play a large role in our democracy as a whole because it’ll decide what the Democrats will be able to accomplish while Joe Biden’s in office.” Currently, there are 52 Republican senators, 46 Democrat senators, and two independent senators. However, the two independent senators have historically heavily supported the Democratic agenda, so it’s closer to 52 Republican senators and 48 Democrat senators. If the Democrats successfully flip both seats in Georgia, then it would be an even 50/50 split. While this isn’t technically a majority, if a bill/policy was to be passed, and the Senate is split 50/50, then the vice president would get the deciding vote. Because the vice president is Kamala Harris, a Democrat, it’s more than likely that the Democratic side would win every time. This would give Biden a much easier time achieving his campaign promises, like his proposed tax on the wealthy and possibly expanding the Supreme Court. If the Republicans manage to keep one or both of the seats, then this will greatly limit the number of things Biden can do during his presidency. Overall, in a way, this election will decide the next four years of the United States of America.

Senator David Perdue

At the time of writing, David Perdue (R), the incumbent, is polling above Jon Ossoff by .6 points. Perdue was born in Macon, GA to school teachers, and worked on his family’s farm until he was old enough to attend the Air Force Academy. He later transferred to Georgia Tech, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s degree in operations research. He was elected in 2014 and has served one term. He rejects climate change (encouraged Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement) as well as opposes the Affordable Care Act. His other general stances include opposing same-sex marriage and common-core learning. He’s most commonly known for co-sponsoring the RAISE Act which aimed to cut down the number of green cards produced by 50%.

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Candidate Jon Ossoff

Jon Ossoff (D) is running against Perdue. Ossoff was born in Atlanta, GA. In high school, Ossof took the opportunity to intern with civil rights leader, John Lewis. He went to college at the London School of Economics where he earned a Master of Science degree. His stances include women’s rights to choose in abortion, supporting homosexual marriage/adoption, and supporting the Affordable Care Act. Along with this, Ossoff supports a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles and supports immigration reform (increased border security, while providing an easier way for people to become citizens).

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Senator Kelly Loeffler

Kelly Loeffler (R) is running for election to keep her seat in the Senate. She was appointed after Johnny Isakson resigned, so she technically hasn’t been elected before. Loeffler was born in Stanford, IL, and was raised on her family’s soybean and corn farm. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She later attended Depaul University where she earned a master’s degree in business administration. For her stances, she agrees on nearly everything with the Trump administration, opposes homosexual marriage/adoption, is pro-life in the abortion debate, and opposes an assault rifle ban/red flag laws.

Candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock

Raphael Warnock (D) is running against Loeffler and trailing by .1 points at the time of writing. Warnock was born in Savannah, GA, where he grew up and attended Morehouse College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He later earned a master’s degree in divinity, a master’s degree in philosophy, and a doctorate in philosophy from Union Theological Seminary. He is an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and pro-choice in the abortion debate. Some of his other stances include expanding Medicaid and wanting stricter gun control. 

The polls for this race are constantly changing, putting one candidate above the other (generally by below one point). This race is very close and election day is January 5th. The cut-off for voter registry was December 7th, so no more people are eligible to apply to vote at this time. While there is more than likely going to be appeals filed and recounts requested, there is a small chance that will actually change the results publicized on January 6th.