The Runoff Report: Kamala Harris, Nikki Haley, and Ivanka Trump in Georgia

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 with Reps.-elect Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.) in Norcross on Dec. 20. Perdue and Donald Trump Jr. appeared in Bulloch County and Catoosa County Dec. 19. On Dec. 18, Perdue released an ad that said Ossoff lied about being paid by China through a media company and that Ossoff would not hold China accountable.

Jon Ossoff held meet-and-greet events in Bainbridge, Thomasville, Hinesville, and Statesboro Friday and Saturday. Ossoff also released two ads. In one, Ossoff said Perdue has not been accessible to constituents. In the other, Ossoff discussed his support for raising the minimum wage.

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 made campaign stops in Kingsland, Brunswick, and Waycross on Dec. 19. Loeffler campaigned with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in Augusta, Demorest, and Evans on Dec. 20. Former Gov. Nathan Deal (R) appeared at the Demorest rally.

Raphael Warnock held a drive-in church service in Macon on Dec. 20, according to a campaign email. Warnock also released a series of ads highlighting campaign stops around the state. The ads feature clips of his speeches and statements from supporters.

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

  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D) was scheduled to headline a rally in Columbus with Ossoff and Warnock early this afternoon. 
  • Ossoff and Warnock held a rally with rapper Common in Garden City on Dec. 19.
  • Loeffler and Perdue are scheduled to campaign with Ivanka Trump today. The candidates also held a rally with Nikki Haley in Forsyth County on Dec. 20. Loeffler and Perdue released a joint ad featuring former University of Georgia and NFL running back Herschel Walker. The three toss around a football while discussing the race as a fight against socialism. 
  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he will return to Georgia on Jan. 4, the day before the runoff elections, to hold a rally supporting Perdue and Loeffler. Trump held a rally in Valdosta on Dec. 5.

Today: Election results in Georgia’s Reverse-Pivot Counties

Three Metro Atlanta counties—Cobb, Gwinnett, and Henry—voted for John McCain (R) in 2008 and Mitt Romney (R) in 2012 and then for Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016. We call such counties Reverse-Pivot Counties. These three counties in Georgia represent half of the six Reverse-Pivot Counties nationwide. Pivot Counties, on the other hand, voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012 and for Trump in 2016. Georgia has five Pivot Counties, which we will take a closer look at later this week.

Since 2008, the presidential margins of victory in the three Reverse-Pivot Counties in Georgia have swung 26.7 percentage points from Republicans to Democrats. In 2008, they voted for the Republican candidate, McCain, by an average margin of 9.0 percentage points. In 2020, they supported the Democratic candidate, Biden, by an average margin of 17.7 percentage points.

Below, we look at how the counties voted in presidential elections since 2008. 

All three of Georgia’s Reverse-Pivot Counties backed Sen. Isakson’s (R) re-election bid in 2016 by an average margin of 5.6 percentage points while favoring Clinton (D) for president. The counties then backed Democrats in the Nov. 3, 2020, Senate elections—by an average margin of 15.5 percentage points in the regular election and 16.6 points in the special. 

The table below shows vote margins for the 2016 and 2020 Senate elections.