Georgia Senate Runoff Election


Venkat Vellanki

The 2020 Senate Election took place alongside the Presidential Election this year was very critical for both the parties. Democrats have flipped two seats in the states of Arizona and Colorado. In the state of Arizona, there was a special election this year due to the following of the death of Republican U.S. Senator John McCain on August 25, 2018. Governor Doug Ducey was required by Arizona law to appoint a Republican to fill the vacant seat through the end of the term expiring in January 2023. On September 5, 2018, Ducey appointed former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl to fill McCain’s seat. However, Kyl announced he would resign on December 31, 2018. On December 18, 2018, Ducey announced that outgoing U.S. Representative Martha McSally would be appointed to fill the seat following Kyl’s resignation, which would trigger a special election.McSally was sworn in as the state’s junior U.S. Senator on January 3, 2019, less than two months after she was defeated by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for Arizona’s Class I U.S. Senate seat. McSally ran to complete the term, defeating skincare executive Daniel McCarthy in the Republican primary. She faced former astronaut Mark Kelly, who ran uncontested in the Democratic primary. Primary elections took place on August 4, 2020. Kelly defeated McSally by a margin of 2.4%. The Democratic Party have lost 1 seat in the state of Alabama. Football Coach Tommy Tuberville defeated Incumbent Senator Doug Jones by 20.4%. This advanced the Republican Party to maintain their strong lead in the Senate Race. So, the net loss was 1 seat for the GOP. While, the net gain was 1 seat for the Democrats. Currently, Republicans hold 50 seats in the Senate and while Democrats hold 48 seats in the Senate. Note that 2 seats associated with Democratic Party who are not running for election this year serve as Independents are Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Angus King of Maine, who caucus with the Democrats. 


Both the Senate Races in Georgia have been advanced to runoffs since neither of the candidates have received 50% of the general popular vote. The runoff election will take place on January 5, 2021. The Senate Race in Georgia had a regular election between Incumbent U.S. Republican Senator versus the Democratic Challenger Jon Ossoff who is widely known for narrowly flipping a long-time held Republican House seat for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District which is currently controlled by Deemocratic U.S. House Representative Lucy McBath. Currently, Senator Perdue leads Ossoff by over 88,000 votes and did not reach the threshold to victory. Significantly, approximately that 20,000 eligible voters will turn 18 between general elected and runoff election-day which might potentially add on more votes. Ossoff has a chance to win the seat if he gets Independent voters as well as some Republican voters who want to settle for others. There is another special election taking place this year in the peach state. In late December of 2019, Former Senator Johnny Isakson resigned from the Senate midway through his third Senate term.He stated due to the faltering health concerns. Senator Kelly Loeffler succeeded his seat through the U.S. Senate Confirmation of the appointment made by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp. The winner of this special election will hold this Senate seat until January 3, 2023. Her main opponent was Democratic Challenger, Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is a pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Rev. Warnock leads Incumbent Senator Loeffler by over 34,000 votes. The southern state of Georgia served as a huge battleground and was very critical for both the parties to triumph. Officials have certified that President-Elect Biden won Georgia by over 11,000 votes than Incumbent President Trump which is about 0.2%. It was narrowly flipped in the 2020 Presidential Election considering the huge voter turnout as 1 million more eligible voters have registered and voted. Many ethnic and young groups voted for both the candidates with President-Elect Biden’s victory over as per certified election results. It was essential since the peach state has been traditionally Republican since 1992. Biden became the first Democrat to win the state since then. In the 2016 Presidential Election, President Trump carried the state by about 5% than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 


This runoff election is deeply significant for both Democrats and Republicans. As, the results will determine the party control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans need to win only 1 seat to retain their Senate Majority. On the other side, Democrats need to win both the seats to flip and take back the control of the Senate. Since, it will be a 50-50 breakdown between both parties. Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris will serve as the tie-breaking vote. Notably, the Vice-President of the United States is entitled to hold the office of the President of the Senate. There might be a potential toss-up senate where each party holds the equal number of seats which can provide the equal chance to pass legislation. 


If you know anyone from Georgia who has already registered to vote, please encourage them to vote early in this critical Senate Runoff Election to make sure their voice is heard and represented in the Senate. Please spread awareness about early voting and making a plan to have everyone’s voice heard. Encourage them to vote. If they are voting in person on Election day, please make sure they bring the right ID and make sure that they are safe. Please consider advocating through different platforms on voting and all the things associated with it.