The Runoff Report: Georgia runoff bus tours ramp up ahead of Monday early voting start

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

Regular election updates

David Perdue campaigned in Richmond County and Louisville. He also attended a “Defend the Majority” rally in Augusta with Vice President Mike Pence. 

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R)—David’s cousin—filled in on a campaign event in Metter while the senator returned to D.C. for the defense bill vote.

Jon Ossoff released an ad featuring a Black mother saying she has to talk to her son about how to avoid being perceived as a threat. She says Ossoff will “fight for a new Civil Rights Act to stop police brutality and racial profiling.” Ossoff also spoke with radio station WAOK’s Juandolyn Stokes about healthcare and economic recovery. 

Ossoff is kicking off a “Health, Jobs and Justice” bus tour in Augusta Dec. 13, the day before early in-person voting begins.

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election updates

Kelly Loeffler released two new ads featuring clips of Raphael Warnock’s sermons. In one ad, a narrator says Warnock “sided with terrorists who hate America and would destroy Israel.” In the other, a narrator says, “Warnock said America’s human rights record is worse than China’s and Iran’s. He compared our ally, Israel, to a racist country.”

Raphael Warnock is launching a “Get Ready to Vote” tour encouraging in-person early voting. An email from the Warnock campaign says he will be holding rallies in Atlanta, Athens, and Augusta. December 12’s rallies are in Savannah, Waycross, and Albany. Warnock will hold a drive-up worship service in Columbus and a rally in Warner Robins Dec. 13. On Dec. 14, he’ll hold events in Atlanta. 

Warnock also released a radio ad, quoting his father and telling Georgia voters “it’s time to put your shoes on and get ready.” 

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

Overall campaign updates

  • President-elect Joe Biden announced the Flip Georgia Fund. Donations will be split evenly between the Ossoff campaign, the Warnock campaign, and the Democratic National Committee.
  • Perdue and Loeffler joined the Georgia Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a federal lawsuit requesting that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia order increased signature verification standards for absentee ballots. 

    The suit reads: “Unfortunately, there are constitutional flaws in the current process for checking absentee voter signatures that must be remedied before county clerks begin processing absentee ballots on December 21, after which time constitutional violations will be impossible to remedy. Plaintiffs seek modest injunctive relief targeted at improving election administration before the election votes are processed. All validly cast votes should be counted and none of those should be diluted by counting invalid or unverified ballots.”
  • Stacey Abrams and 18 Star Trek cast members are holding a virtual fundraiser for Ossoff and Warnock Dec. 12.

Today: Ossoff’s candidate survey responses

Jon Ossoff submitted responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in September. Ballotpedia has contacted the Perdue, Loeffler, and Warnock campaigns inviting the candidates to take the survey.

Here is one of Ossoff’s responses. Find his full survey here.

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

I am passionate about delivering a historic infrastructure & clean energy package to create millions of new, good-paying jobs & make the U.S. the world leader in renewable energy and sustainability. I’ll push for big, overdue investments in transportation & transit, clean energy, energy efficiency, public health, communications, research & development, emergency response, & environmental cleanup. These investments will create job training & employment opportunities for millions of American workers & demand for products made by American businesses. They will revitalize our economy & lay the foundations for decades of prosperity, environmental sustainability, & health. Upgraded infrastructure will make life safer & more convenient, support commerce, attract investment, protect our environment, & improve our health. Money spent on infrastructure is truly an investment in America with positive returns across the economy & dramatic improvements to our quality of life.

Jon Ossoff in his Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in September.

Invitation to our Georgia readers

We’d love it if you emailed us pictures of mailers from the Senate runoff campaigns to