The Runoff Report: Pre-runoff election weekend filled with campaign stops, interviews

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.

Voting on Jan. 5

Some answers to questions you may have about voting in the runoffs:

When are polls open on Tuesday?

  • From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone standing in line at a polling location at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Can I register at the polls?

  • No. The registration deadline was Dec. 7.

Do I need to bring ID?

  • Yes. Voters must present photo ID at the polls. Click here for a list of accepted forms of ID.

Can I still submit my absentee ballot?

  • Yes, a voter may still place an absentee ballot in a ballot dropbox in their county. Click here for information on finding a ballot drop-off location. County election officials must receive absentee ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day. 

Regular election updates

David Perdue entered quarantine on Dec. 31 after someone he had close contact with tested positive for COVID-19. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), David’s cousin, made several campaign stops on his behalf over the weekend. David Perdue gave several media interviews, including with Fox & Friends and Breitbart News Radio on Jan. 2. On Jan. 3, Perdue’s term in the Senate ended, and the seat will be vacant until the runoff results are certified.

Jon Ossoff held a virtual get-out-the-vote event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Jan. 3. Ossoff held a rally in Macon and other campaign events in Eatonton, Stone Mountain, Athens, and Savannah on Jan. 2. Ossoff held a “Swag Bag Giveaway” event in East Point on Jan. 1.

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 campaigned in Cherokee County on Jan. 3. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) joined Loeffler to campaign in McDonough. On Jan 2, Loeffler campaigned in Fayette, Carroll, Gwinnett, Jefferson, and Forsyth counties. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald (R), who is also in a runoff on Tuesday, joined Loeffler in Forsyth County. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared at an early vote concert Loeffler hosted on Dec. 31.

Raphael Warnock is holding an event in Riverdale today, according to a campaign email. Warnock campaigned in Valdosta, Albany, and Brunswick on Jan. 2. Warnock held events in LaGrange, Columbus, Culloden, Macon, Dublin, and Upson on Jan. 1. 

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

  • Ossoff and Warnock will attend a rally with President-elect Joe Biden in Atlanta today.
  • President Donald Trump is holding a rally for Perdue and Loeffler in Dalton tonight.
  • Ossoff and Warnock campaigned together in Augusta this morning. 
  • Vice President Mike Pence held a “Faith Community Call To Action” event in Milner today.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a rally with Ossoff and Warnock in Savannah on Jan. 3.

Today: Candidate’s key messages

Here’s a summary of what the candidates have been saying about themselves and their opponents ahead of the runoffs.

Regular election

David Perdue

What he says about himself:

Perdue says he is an outsider and that he first ran for the Senate because he wanted to use his business background to improve the economy. Perdue says his record in the Senate includes helping bring federal COVID-19 relief funds to Georgia, fully fund the Port of Savannah, reverse regulations and create jobs, rebuild the military, protect people with pre-existing conditions, and improve medical care for veterans. 

What he says about Ossoff:

Perdue has said Ossoff has a socialist agenda. Perdue says Ossoff shares Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D) goals of defunding the police, giving D.C. statehood, and granting voting rights to people in the country without legal permission. Perdue also says Ossoff has business ties to communist China.

Jon Ossoff

What he says about himself:

Ossoff has emphasized his background as an investigative journalist, saying he has worked to fight corruption. Ossoff says he would work for a public option in healthcare, direct stimulus payments in response to COVID-19, a new Civil Rights Act and new Voting Rights Act, a $15 minimum wage, clean energy production, and overturning Citizens United.

What he says about Perdue:

Ossoff has criticized Perdue’s stock trades amid the pandemic. Ossoff has also said Perdue has not been accessible enough to constituents and criticized him for not participating in the runoff debate on Dec. 6. Ossoff also said, “The health insurance, pharmaceutical, and fossil fuel industries have bought the allegiance of my opponent.”

Ossoff filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Survey. Click here to view his responses.

Special election

Kelly Loeffler

What she says about herself:

Loeffler says she has lived the American dream, growing up on a farm, waitressing her way through college, and becoming a businesswoman. Loeffler says she has created jobs in the state and is “the only candidate qualified to help rebuild our economy.” Loeffler says she has delivered for Georgians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing relief funds to families, hospitals, and businesses.

What she says about Warnock:

Loeffler has called Warnock a radical liberal and Chuck Schumer’s “agent of change.” Loeffler said Warnock supports increasing taxes, opening borders, and socializing healthcare. Loeffler has also criticized past comments Warnock made about the military and police.

Raphael Warnock

What he says about himself:

Warnock emphasizes that he grew up with 11 siblings and highlights his work as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor in the 1960s. Warnock says he has worked for voting rights and affordable healthcare and that he would continue that work in the Senate. Warnock says he’ll look out for ordinary people because he knows what it’s like to be an ordinary person.

What he says about Loeffler:

Warnock has criticized Loeffler’s stock trades amid the pandemic and says she only looks out for herself. Warnock also says Loeffler wants to take healthcare away from people in the middle of the pandemic and would not protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.