Candidates make final pushes days before Georgia Senate runoffs
ATLANTA - With just days to go before the Georgia runoffs, the candidates are making their final pushes to secure their place in the Senate.
A record number of Georgians have already turned out to vote early with more than 2 million people voting early in-person and nearly 930,000 voting by mail.
That's over half the number of Georgians who voted in the 2020 presidential election.
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler made a number of campaign stops on Saturday where she emphasized the need for Republicans to show up at their polling places Tuesday.
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"You've got to call your friends, your family, your co-workers, your folks at school and church, your frenemies. Make sure that they have a plan to vote because the future of the country is on the line," Loeffler said. "You heard Chuck Schumer say, 'now we take Georgia, then we change America.'"
The Senator is campaigning without the help of fellow Republican Sen. David Perdue, who is quarantining after exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
From isolation, Perdue continued to hit Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
"This is a ripening scandal, as we now know. He, uh, he hid his involvement with the Communist Chinese Party during his primary. He got caught. He lied about it. He then filed another report with the federal authorities that did disclose that he did take money from the Chinese Communist Party and then lied about it again in a debate," Perdue said on "Fox and Friends."
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Meanwhile, Democrats are focusing on getting out the votes for their side, spending time in Georgia's predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Ossoff's campaign has hired thousands of workers to explain what he and fellow Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock have to offer, and then get them to the polls to cast a ballot on Tuesday.
"You deserve a senator who has your back not just when it's time to answer to the people, but at all times. And when so many are suffering, you send me and Rev. Warnock to the Senate, we will pass those $2,000 stimulus checks because families need help staying in their homes and staying on their feet," Ossoff said.
Warnock is now facing a new attack over questions about alleged abuse by counselors at a Maryland camp he was in charge of years back.
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"I think here again that it is quite obvious that Kelly Loeffler doesn't have a case to make for why she should be sitting in that seat, and so she continues with the politics of distraction and division, and she can't explain why she profited off of the pandemic while denying the people of Georgia the kind of support that they need," he said at a campaign stop on Friday.
As part of the final push to get voters out to the polls, some political heavyweights are set to visit the state Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence is set to host an event at a church in Milner Monday at noon.
Then Monday night, President Donald Trump is back in Georgia hosting a rally in Dalton to stump for Loeffler and Perdue. That will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Dalton Regional Airport.
On the Democratic side, President-elect Joe Biden will be in town for a drive-in rally with Warnock and Ossoff. So far, the campaigns have not released an exact time or location for that event.
Also Monday night, Oprah Winfrey will host a virtual town hall focused on getting Georgians to return to the polls, with speakers including Stacey Abrams and Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams.
If Perdue and Loeffler both lose their seats, Republicans lose control of the U.S. Senate after six years of holding a majority in the chamber.
The November elections resulted in Republicans holding 50 Senate seats and Democrats controlling 48. Only the two seats in Georgia remain undecided.
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A win by either Perdue or Loeffler would keep the Senate in Republican hands.
But victories by both Ossoff and Warnock would leave both parties with 50 seats each — and therefore tilt control to Democrats. That’s because Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the Senate’s presiding officer and will vote as needed to break any ties.
It would be a big win for Biden, as Democrats would control both houses of Congress.
Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.