ATLANTA - All eyes on Georgia -- home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and twin Senate runoffs, which both will be playing a role in the vice president's visit Friday.
Vice President Mike Pence will touch down in the Peach State in the early afternoon and head to the CDC in Atlanta. As head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Pence will be briefed on the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution, which Gov. Brian Kemp has said Georgia is fully prepared to roll out once given approval.
No vaccine has been authorized for use in the U.S. yet, but preliminary results in several clinical trials are promising, setting the stage for probable availability by the end of the year.
Pence's scheduled stop Friday at the CDC comes on the heels of a grim record this week; U.S. deaths from the outbreak topped 3,100 in a single day.
But Pence remained optimistic in a visit in Tennessee Thursday.
"Help is on the way,” Pence said. “We are just a matter, we believe, of days away from when we will begin to distribute tens of millions of doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine for the American people."
Switching hats, Pence will then travel to Georgia’s coast for a ‘Defend the Majority Rally,’ stumping for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, just under a month out from the twin Senate runoffs.
In Savannah, he'll likely try to sing the same tune as his November visit, pitching the incumbents as the last line of defense in Washington for the GOP and encouraging Georgians to get out the vote, despite in-party fighting casting doubt about the elections system.
The Republican incumbents both face fierce opponents, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as they battle for control of the Senate.
The Democrats will also be receiving a boost from a big headliner. Former President Barack Obama will appear in a virtual campaign event on their behalf.