Today’s congressional run-off in Georgia is arguably the most consequential election of a legislative body in American history. The current Senate has 48 Democrats and 50 Republicans. If both Democrats win in Georgia, the Democratic Vice President, Kamala Harris would break 50-50 tie in the Senate. If either Republican incumbent returns to their seat, Republicans will stay in power for the next two years.
Of the two equally contentious run-offs, one is between the Democrat contender Jon Ossoff and the Republican incumbent David Perdue. The two candidates have vastly different political beliefs and would likely have contrasting votes on Senate bills.
First elected to the Senate in 2014, David Perdue claims to have helped deliver Georgian residents privatized healthcare, increased veteran aid, and economic success through lowering taxes. He argues it would be deleterious for Georgians to elect Ossoff because he supports police defunding and giving voting rights to illegal migrants.
Jon Ossoff last ran for office in 2017 aiming to capture Georgia’s 6th congressional district in the House. He lost to Republican nominee Karen Handel in one of the most expensive races ever. Ossoff is a household progressive: he champions police reform, public option healthcare, and strong environmental rehabilitation.
Most notably, though, he has honed in on overturning Citizens United, a 2010 Supreme Court decision that dictated campaign finance legalities. Along with Perdue’s refusal to debate him in a public forum, Ossoff has cited insider trading as a key point for Georgians to vote blue today. According to the New York Times, Perdue has made 2,596 stock transactions in his last term–the most of any senator.
The other race is between the Democrat contender Raphael Warnock and the Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. Similar to Ossoff and Perdue, the two contenders for the seat have vastly different political outlooks.
Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her position by the governor of Atlanta, Brian Kemp, in 2019. Before she was appointed, she was the CEO of Bakkt. Loeffler is the wealthiest member of the Senate. In a tweet on March 20th, Loeffler claimed that, “Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”
However, according to her Senate financial filings, she sold millions worth of assets in between the January 25th COVID-19 briefing and the mid-February market crash. While the Department of Justice did drop her case, something she has called an “exoneration”), many continue to speculate that this ordeal involved insider trading.
Loeffler denies this vehemently. Loeffler also supports the same general philosophies that Perdue does: privatized health care, veteran aid, national security, low taxes. Also similar to Perdue, she argues that electing Raphael Warnock would ensure the defunding of the police.
Since 2005, Raphael Warnock has been the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Martin Luther King’s former congregation, who Warnock says is his inspiration. Like Ossoff, he claims that he does not want to defund the police but instead achieve meaningful reform. Other priorities of his include Medicaid for all and expanding voting rights.
Warnock supports marriage equality and is pro-choice. He opposes concealed carry laws for firearms. A central talking point of Warnock’s is that Loeffler was never elected to the Senate (she was appointed following an abrupt leave).He runs on the principle that Georgians deserve someone that represents their interests, positing that Loeffler merely wants to protect the profits she has made on wall street.
Georgia has had a constituency that has been historically Republican. However, during the presidential election, the state turned blue, towards Biden. It is now up to Georgians to decide how the Senate will function throughout the first half of President-Elect Biden’s term.