Pence holds rally in Macon for Loeffler, Perdue

Vice President Mike Pence once again visited Georgia on Thursday to campaign for U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The vice president hosted a "Defend the Majority" rally in Macon at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport on Thursday afternoon.

"Together we're fighting to hold the line in the U.S. Senate," said Pence.

The message from Vice President Pence at the rally in Macon was to hold the line and elect Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to the U.S. Senate.

"I talk to folks across America every day. They say, 'Kelly, is Georgia going get this done?'" said Loeffler, "And I say 'Absolutely. Georgia is going to hold the line.'"

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"What's at stake here? The Democrats want to perpetrate a socialist agenda on our country. We know that," said Perdue.

With early voting now underway, time is winding down before the January 5 runoff election. Both sides are bringing in big names to campaign for their candidates. The vice president made it clear that the White House will be watching closely on January 5.

"I want you to be confident about your vote," said Pence. "We're on them this time. We're going to secure the ballots. We're going to secure the drop boxes."


Recent polls show the U.S. Senate races in the state are in a dead heat. Republicans need one victory to maintain the majority in the U.S. Senate. Democrats hope they can sweep the state.

"We need Georgia to send these two great senators back to a majority in Washington because of who they are and because a Republican Senate majority could be the last line of defense," said Pence.

The vice president also vowed to keep fighting for President Trump who has yet to concede the November election.

"We're going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We're going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out, and we'll never stop fighting to keep America great again," said Pence.

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The vice president has previously stopped in Augusta in the east, Savannah on the coast and the north Georgia cities of Gainesville and Canton, in the far reaches of metro Atlanta’s exurbs. President Donald Trump rounded out the map with a Dec. 5 rally in Valdosta, in south Georgia.

The anywhere-but-Atlanta strategy is a window into Georgia’s new political geography that put the state this year in the Democrats’ presidential win column for the first time since 1992.

Democrats dominate in the urban areas and in nearby suburbs. Republicans are increasingly dependent on high turnout in rural parts, small towns and small cities.

"The fact is they’re going to places where Republicans have the best margins, trying to energize their voters," said Brian Robinson, a GOP strategist in Georgia. He noted that the events get statewide media coverage and, therefore, still reach Atlanta-area voters.

"In some of these rural counties, Perdue and Loeffler really need to hit 80-plus percent" of the vote, Robinson said, "and they need to juice the turnout in those counties as much as they can."

In Columbus, Pence said it was essential that Perdue and Loeffler remain in the Senate to preserve work done under the outgoing Trump administration. He also refused to acknowledge that he and Trump lost the election.

"We need Georgia to send these two great senators back to Washington because of who they are, because of all that we’ve accomplished together and because a Republican Senate majority could be the last line of defense to preserve all that we’ve done for this country," Pence said. The vice president conveyed the same message in Macon.

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President-elect Joe Biden came to Georgia on Tuesday for a rally within a few miles of downtown Atlanta in support of Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Democrats came out with a new ad Thursday that has Biden speaking directly into the camera about how much he needs a Democratic Senate majority to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

A win by either Perdue or Loeffler would keep the Senate in GOP hands. A sweep by Ossoff and Warnock would yield a 50-50 split in the upper chamber, giving the tiebreaking vote to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

"On Day One as your president, I’m prepared to sign a COVID relief package that fully funds the public health response needed, led by Georgia’s own CDC," Biden says in the ad. "It will ensure free testing and vaccination for every American and will get small businesses the assistance they need right now. Let me be clear, I need Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the United States Senate to get this done."

In 2014, Perdue won his first Senate term with a comfortable statewide margin of 198,000 votes over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Across the heavily Republican areas of north Georgia, beyond Gainesville, where he campaigned with Pence last month, Perdue consistently won as much as 75% of the vote. In Lowndes County, where Trump visited this month, Perdue won 12,513 votes, good for 58%.

In November, Perdue pushed his margins across many of the north Georgia counties to 80%. His raw vote total in Lowndes County spiked to 25,620. But despite all those gains, he led Ossoff by only 88,000 votes and failed to reach the outright majority required to avoid a runoff.

The Associated Press contributed to this report