2020 Election Op-Ed: Georgia–The Battle for the Senate

By Vynateya Purimetla (’21)

As the 2020 election cycle draws to a close, the House has been retained by the Democrats, though 5 net seats were lost and Joe Biden has won the Presidency by 306 electoral votes. However, one branch of the government hasn’t reached a conclusion: the Senate. Although the Democrats have picked up a seat in Arizona, they have not reached 50 Senators. This is all contingent on one state: Georgia. To prevent stalemates, gridlock, and governance by Executive Order, it is imperative for Democrats to win the Senate if they are to pass Biden’s most ambitious policies and progressive agenda.

There are two Georgia runoffs that are key to determine Senate control. First and foremost is the special election between Warnock and Loeffler. Although Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock won 32.9% of the vote (1,615,480 million) and Republican Kelly Loeffler won only 25.9% (1,271,143 million), there are some caveats. Since this was a special election, numerous Republicans and Democrats ran as well, with Doug Collins of the Republican party winning 19.9% (978,938 votes) and Deborah Jackson of the Democratic party winning 6.6% (323,801 votes). Kelly Loeffler, the Republican candidate, though being investigated for insider trading, is campaigning on conservative values. Reverend Warnock, a Baptist leader at the church MLK once preached,is campaigning on expanding and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

The second vital race is between Ossoff and Perdue. Although Republican David Perdue won 49.7% of the vote (2,458,706 million) and Democrat Jon Ossoff won only 48% of the vote (2,372,171 million), a runoff election will be scheduled. This is because no candidate obtained a plurality of the vote, which under Georgia law requires a runoff to decide the race. David Perdue, a climate change denier who has voted for additional tax cuts on the rich, is mounting a formidable challenge with financial backing from the RNC, for whom it is imperative they retain control of the Senate. However, Jon Ossoff, an advocate for the Affordable Care Act and economic reform, has formed a people-powered grassroots coalition centered around Atlanta and the suburbs.

For Democrats, gaining control of the Senate is vital to implementing necessary and structural reforms to pressing issues: chiefly COVID-19, climate change, the economic recession, and the widening polarizations of class and belief in the country. The difference between Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, exaggeratedly, will define the fate of the planet (in connection to the United States’ leadership, or lack thereof, on global carbon emissions and the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it is vital that we all fight for the Senate to pass ambitious, progressive legislation. The path to the Senate runs straight through Georgia, with Warnock and Ossoff.

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