Georgia voters head to the polls in crucial Senate runoffs – US politics live

Here’s a useful recap of what’s going on in Georgia today, why it matters so much and how we got here.

Voters cast ballots today in a pair of US Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of that chamber of Congress – and with it the ability to block or advance Democratic president-elect Joe Biden’s agenda – after a contentious campaign that broke spending and early-turnout records.

Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are facing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a pastor at a Black church in Atlanta, in a state Biden narrowly carried in the Novemberr 3 presidential election, Reuters writes.

Raphael Warnock campaigning earlier today. If he beats Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in the runoff election, he will become Georgia’s first ever Black US Senator.

Raphael Warnock campaigning earlier today. If he beats Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in the runoff election, he will become Georgia’s first ever Black US Senator. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

The tumultuous contest’s final days have been dominated by Donald Trump’s continued effort to subvert the presidential election results.

On Saturday, he pressured the state’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to “find” votes to reverse Biden’s victory, falsely claiming massive fraud. Trump’s ongoing efforts to undo Biden’s victory have caused a dramatic split in his own party and condemnation from critics who accuse him of undermining democracy.

The runoff elections, a quirk of state law, became necessary when no candidate in either senatorial race exceeded 50% of the vote in November.

Trump and Biden campaigned in Georgia yesterday, Trump in the state’s northwest and Biden in Atlanta. Trump called the November election “rigged” and falsely claimed he won the state as he used his speech to air grievances about his defeat.

“There is no way we lost Georgia,” Trump said, ticking off a long list of unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud.

On the ground today, Scott Sweeney, 63, said he was voting for Perdue and Loeffler as a way to block the Democrats from getting control of the Senate.

“I believe the two of them are consistent with my values,” Sweeney said at a polling place in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. “Taxes for one, and traditional values.”

Andria Lang, 73, exited her polling place at a church in Atlanta voicing optimism that the Democrats would prevail.
“I feel great about my vote,” Lang said.

Biden’s victory in Georgia, the first for a Democratic presidential candidate there in nearly 30 years, was not confirmed for more than a week. Two recounts and subsequent legal challenges from the Trump campaign pushed the state’s final certification into December.

“We won three times here,” Biden quipped at yesterday’s rally as he urged Georgians to vote Democratic. “This is not an exaggeration: Georgia, the whole nation is looking to you.”

Democrats need to win both races to gain Senate control from Republicans. A double Democratic win would split the Senate 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote giving Democrats control of the chamber.


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