Taggeorgia

Stories about Georgia

A closer look at turnout in Georgia’s statewide runoff elections

Although most of the nation’s focus during the Jan. 5 Georgia runoffs was on the two U.S. Senate seats, there was one other runoff that didn’t receive as much attention. Voters in Georgia also decided the District 4 race for the state Public Utilities Commission (PSC), which resulted in a first for the Peach State. 

Incumbent Bubba McDonald (R) defeated challenger Daniel Blackman (D). McDonald’s victory in the 2020 runoffs marks the first time that both a Democrat and Republican have won in the same statewide runoff election in Georgia. In the two U. S. Senate runoffs, Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff each won.

McDonald received the most votes of any Republican candidate in the runoffs, whereas his opponent, Blackman, received the fewest votes of any Democratic candidate.

Unlike previous runoffs, the PSC runoff in 2020 also had the greatest level of parity compared to the U.S. Senate runoffs. Compared to the previous years where both positions advanced to a runoff (1992 and 2008), the overall turnout in the 2020 PSC runoff was 49,257 votes (1.1%) less than the highest-turnout U.S. Senate race. Historically, runoff elections for PSC have had a lower turnout than those for the Senate when the two appear on the same ballot. 

To learn more about the PSC election, click here.

To learn more about the two U.S. Senate runoffs, click here.



Republican incumbent re-elected to Public Service Commission in Georgia’s statewide runoff election

District 4 Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr. (R) won re-election to Georgia’s Public Service Commission (PSC) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. He defeated challenger Daniel Blackman (D) with 50.6% of the vote, according to unofficial results posted on January 7. There were 4.40 million votes cast in the race.

The runoff was held after no candidates received a majority of the vote in the general election on November 3, 2020. McDonald received the highest number of votes in that race, winning 49.9% of the 4.84 million votes cast, roughly 0.1 percentage points below what he needed in order to win the election outright. Blackman received 47.0% of the vote, and Libertarian candidate Nathan Wilson received 3.1% of the vote.

While the PSC race had the lowest total votes of the night, McDonald received the third-highest number of votes (2.22 million votes), behind U.S. Senate challengers Raphael Warnock (D) (2.26 million) and Jon Ossoff (D) (2.24 million). Both Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) (2.19 million) and Sen. David Perdue (R) (2.20 million) received fewer votes than McDonald. Each U.S. Senate race saw approximately 4.45 million total votes.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating Georgia’s public utilities—that is, electric, gas, telecommunications, and transportation firms—and is composed of five popularly elected members who serve staggered, six-year terms.

Georgia has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

Additional reading:



The Runoff Report: With Ossoff and Warnock wins, Democrats will control the Senate

In today’s final regular edition of The Runoff Report, we bring you the latest results and analysis of the Georgia Senate runoffs. Originally intended for yesterday, Jan. 6, we postponed the edition following the protests and riots surrounding Congress’ certification of the presidential election. For more, see today’s edition of The Transition Tracker.

Democrats win control of the Senate

Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate following Georgia’s two runoff elections on Tuesday. Jon Ossoff (D) defeated David Perdue (R) in the regular runoff election. Raphael Warnock (D) defeated Kelly Loeffler (R) in the special runoff election. Georgia’s last Democratic senator, Zell Miller, left office in 2005.

In the regular runoff election, Ossoff had 50.4% of the vote to Perdue’s 49.6% as of Thursday morning. Ossoff will be the state’s first Jewish senator. 

Warnock won with 50.8% of the vote to incumbent Kelly Loeffler’s (R) 49.2% as of Thursday morning. Warnock will be the first Black U.S. senator from Georgia. 

Once sworn in after runoff results are certified, Ossoff and Warnock will bring the Democratic caucus to 50 members, splitting the chamber with 50 Republicans. The vice president—Kamala Harris (D) as of Jan. 20—has the tie-breaking vote in the chamber. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has until Jan. 22 to certify runoff results.

Perdue was elected to the Senate in 2014, and his term ended Jan. 3. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned at the end of 2019 for health reasons. Once sworn in, Warnock will serve the remaining two years of the term Isakson won in 2016.

Democrats last controlled the Senate from 2007 to 2015. Democrats currently hold a majority of 222-211 in the U.S. House. 

Turnout

Around 4.5 million people voted in Georgia’s runoffs, compared to 5 million during the November election. That’s a turnout decrease of 10%. 

Before this year, Georgia had held two runoffs for U.S. Senate: one in 2008 and one in 1992. In 2008, turnout between the general and runoff elections decreased by 43%. In 1992, turnout decreased by 44%.

The New York Times reported the following estimated runoff turnout breakdown:

Over all, turnout reached a remarkable 92 percent of 2020 general election levels in precincts carried by Mr. Biden in November, compared with 88 percent of general election levels in the precincts carried by Mr. Trump. These tallies include Upshot estimates of the remaining uncounted vote by precinct, and it suggests that nearly all of the Democratic gains since the November election can be attributed to the relatively stronger Democratic turnout.

A majority of Georgia’s Democratic voters are Black — they are roughly 30 percent of the overall electorate — and it was these voters who drove the stronger Democratic turnout. Over all, turnout reached 93 percent of 2020 levels in precincts where Black voters represented at least 80 percent of the electorate. In comparison, turnout fell to 87 percent of general election levels in white working-class precincts.

Pivot and Reverse-Pivot County voting

Last month, we looked at voting patterns in Georgia’s Pivot and Reverse-Pivot counties. Here’s how they voted in the Senate runoffs compared to the Senate races in November based on unofficial results available Thursday morning. Republican candidates won all Pivot Counties, and Democratic candidates won all Reverse-Pivot Counties. Below, we’re focusing on differences in the number of votes between November and January in each county.

Georgia’s five Pivot Counties voted for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012, then Donald Trump (R) in 2016. All five voted for Trump again in 2020. 

Georgia’s three Reverse-Pivot Counties voted for John McCain (R) in 2008 and Mitt Romney (R) in 2012 and then for Hillary Clinton (D) in 2016. All three supported Biden (D) in 2020.

The middle two columns show vote totals from the runoff election. The difference between runoff votes and general election votes are in parentheses. For example: Ossoff received 624 votes in Baker County in the runoff. That was 24 fewer votes than he received in the county in November.

The column on the right shows the difference between votes lost per county. Colors show which party lost fewer votes. For example, in Baker County, Ossoff lost 39 fewer votes than Perdue.



Warnock wins Georgia’s U.S. Senate special election runoff, outcome of regular election runoff not yet determined

As of 8:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 6, one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoff elections had been called. Raphael Warnock (D) was projected as the winner of the special runoff election with 50.6% of the vote to incumbent Kelly Loeffler’s (R) 49.4%, according to unofficial results available as of Wednesday morning. 

In the regular election, Jon Ossoff (D) led David Perdue (R) 50.2% to 49.8%. Ballotpedia will not project a winner until there is a consensus projection made by a pool of five national news outlets: ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and NYT. None of the outlets had called the election as of 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. 

With Warnock’s win, the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate will have 49 members, while there are 50 Republicans in the chamber. If Perdue wins re-election, Republicans will maintain their Senate majority with 51 members. If Ossoff wins, Democrats will split the chamber 50-50 and Kamala Harris (D) will cast tie-breaking votes.

Perdue was elected to the Senate in 2014, and his term ended Jan. 3. His seat will remain vacant until the runoff election results are certified. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned at the end of 2019 for health reasons. Warnock will serve the remaining two years of the term Isakson won in 2016.

Republicans framed the fight over Senate control as a fight against socialism in America. Democrats said the incoming Biden administration needs a Democratic Senate majority to make progress on healthcare and pandemic recovery.

Warnock will be the first Black U.S. Senator from Georgia. Georgia’s last Democratic senator, Zell Miller, left office in 2005. 

Joe Biden was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton did so in 1992. 

Additional reading:



Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoff elections too close to call as of midnight on Jan. 6

Voters in Georgia decided runoffs in two U.S. Senate elections on Jan. 5. As of 12 a.m. EST Wednesday, both races were considered too close to call. In the regular election, Sen. David Perdue (R) led Jon Ossoff (D) by fewer than 2,000 votes, with both candidates receiving 50.0% of the vote. In the state’s special election, Raphael Warnock (D) led Kelly Loeffler (R), 50.4%-49.6%.

Ballotpedia will not project a winner for these elections until there is a consensus projection made by a pool of five national news outlets: ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and the New York Times. None of the five outlets had called either election as of 12 a.m. EST Wednesday. 

If Democrats win both runoffs, there will be a 50-50 tie between Democratic and Republican caucuses in the Senate, and Kamala Harris (D) would cast tie-breaking votes. If Republicans win one or both runoffs, they would maintain their majority.

The winners will be sworn in once results are certified. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) has until Jan. 22 to certify statewide results. Perdue’s term ended on Jan. 3. The seat he held will be vacant until results are certified. Loeffler was appointed to temporarily serve the term Johnny Isakson (R) won, which ends in January 2023. Loeffler will remain a Senator until the results are certified, and whoever wins the race will complete the term.

In Georgia, a candidate may request a recount within two business days of when results are certified if the margin between the candidates is less than or equal to 0.5%. Additionally, an election official may order a recount if it appears there is a discrepancy or error in the returns.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_special_election_in_Georgia,_2020_(Loeffler_vs._Warnock_runoff)

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_election_in_Georgia,_2020_(Perdue_vs._Ossoff_runoff)



The Runoff Report: Trump, Biden in Georgia on eve of election

Happy Election Day! Follow along with us live tonight here as results roll in.

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. today. 

Click here to find your polling location, check absentee ballot status, check registration status, find a sample ballot, and more.

Regular election updates

David Perdue remains in quarantine. He participated in several media interviews on Jan. 4. On Fox & Friends this morning, Perdue said of Ossoff that “most of his money comes from big tech out in California. You better bet he’s going to be in their deep pocket as we turn around and try to hold big tech accountable for their vagaries over the last 10 years. And also, when we stand up to China, ask this young man what he’s going to do to the people who put money in his pocket the last two years.” Perdue also tweeted that he urged senators to object to the Electoral College certification process. Perdue’s term ended on Jan. 3, so he will not be able to participate on Jan. 6.

Jon Ossoff campaigned in Conyers and Augusta on Jan. 4. Ossoff tweeted a video of him saying, “When the president of the United States calls up Georgia’s election officials and tries to intimidate them to change the result of the election, to disenfranchise Georgia voters, to disenfranchise Black voters in Georgia who delivered this state for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that is a direct attack on our democracy. And If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler had one piece of steel in their spines, one shred of integrity, they would be out here defending Georgia voters from that kind of assault.”

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was 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 Augusta, Columbus, Savannah, Albany, and Valdosta on Jan. 4. Loeffler also announced she would support the objection to the Electoral College certification process on Jan. 6, saying, “I will vote to give President Trump & the American people the fair hearing they deserve.” 

Raphael Warnock campaigned in Marietta and Atlanta today, according to a campaign email. He tweeted on Jan. 4, “Unelected Senator @KLoeffler wants to undermine your vote and overturn Georgia’s election. Let’s show her that Georgia voters will not be silenced or ignored. Tomorrow, let’s vote her out.”

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 Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Dalton on Monday night. Loeffler was present, while Perdue was still quarantining. Trump said, “Everything that we achieved together is on the line tomorrow. … Our fight to take back our country from the big donors, the big media and the horrendous big tech giants.” Trump said Loeffler and Perdue would protect Social Security, Medicare, and patients with pre-existing conditions. He also discussed his claims about election fraud in the state’s presidential election while urging Republican voters to vote in the runoff: “The only way to combat the Democratic fraud is to flood your polling places with a historic tidal wave of Republican voters tomorrow.”
  • President-elect Joe Biden held a rally with Warnock and Ossoff in Atlanta. Biden said Ossoff and Warnock would help deliver $2,000 relief checks to most Americans. “If you’re like millions of Americans all across this country, you need the money. You need the help and you need it now. Now, look, Georgia, there’s no one in America with more power to make that happen than you. … The power is literally in your hands. By electing Jon and the reverend, you can break the gridlock that has gripped Washington.” Biden also said, “It’s not hyperbole, you can change America.” He said of the presidential election, “Your voices were heard. Your votes were counted. The will of the people prevailed.”

Today: Recapping The Runoff Report‘s daily features

On Election Day, beef up your election knowledge with the following resources from previous Runoff Report editions.

Candidates in depth

Influencer profiles

Nov. 3 vote breakdowns

Continually updated features

Historical context

Miscellaneous



Voters to decide Georgia’s U.S. Senate races

Georgia was the only state to hold two Senate elections in 2020. In addition to the regularly scheduled election for the seat David Perdue (R) won in 2014, a special election was held to fill the rest of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) term. Both races advanced to runoffs as no candidate received a majority of votes in the Nov. 3 elections.

If Republicans win at least one of the Senate elections, they’ll retain a majority in the chamber. Democrats would need to win both elections to reach a 50-50 split, which would give them effective control as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D) would serve as a tie-breaker for Senate votes.

The Senate seat Perdue held is currently vacant as his term ended Jan. 3. The seat will remain vacant until the runoff election results are certified. He faces Jon Ossoff (D). Kelly Loeffler (R) was appointed to the seat Isakson vacated and will fill it in her appointed capacity until the special election winner, either herself or Raphael Warnock (D), is decided. 

Perdue and Loeffler say they have delivered relief for Georgia amid the pandemic and that their opponents would work toward socialist policies if elected. Ossoff and Warnock say they would work to make progress on healthcare and COVID-19 recovery, and they have criticized their opponents’ stock trading amid the pandemic. Click the links below for more on candidates’ backgrounds, key messages, and policy proposals.

As of Jan. 1, 3 million people had cast runoff ballots, compared to 3.9 million at the same point ahead of the Nov. 3 elections in Georgia.

In both races, Democratic candidates led in total election cycle fundraising as of Dec. 16. Ossoff raised $140 million to Perdue’s $90 million. Warnock raised $125 million to Loeffler’s $92 million. The majority of candidates’ fundraising occurred in the reporting period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 16:

  • Ossoff: $107 million
  • Warnock: $103 million
  • Perdue: $68 million
  • Loeffler: $64 million

As of December 28, satellite groups supporting the Republican candidates had spent $181 million in the runoff alone, and groups supporting the Democratic candidates had spent $63 million.

Georgia has held two runoff elections for U.S. Senate prior to this year: one in 2008 and the other in 1992.

Additional reading:



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.



The Runoff Report: Loeffler, Perdue announce support for $2,000 relief checks

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 tweeted today, “President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people.” On Dec. 28, Perdue campaigned in Greene County, Milledgeville, Sandersville, Laurens County, and Eastman.

Jon Ossoff appeared on MSNBC’s The ReidOut Monday night, where he called on Perdue to commit to voting for $2,000 relief checks. 

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 appeared on Fox & Friends this morning and said regarding $2,000 relief checks, “I’ve stood by the president 100% of the time. I’m proud to do that, and I’ve said, absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now, and I will support that.” Loeffler also said congressional Democrats have held up COVID-19 relief. Loeffler campaigned in Watkinsville on Dec. 28. 

Raphael Warnock held a drive-in rally in Atlanta this morning, according to a campaign email. Warnock also released an ad saying Loeffler criticizes him because she’s afraid “that you understand how she’s used her position in the Senate to enrich herself and others like her.” Warnock said he’d serve in the Senate “inspired by the words of Dr. King, who said that ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?'”

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

  • Stacey Abrams is hosting a virtual fundraiser for Ossoff and Warnock featuring actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus tonight.
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) campaigned for Loeffler and Perdue in Savannah.
  • Loeffler and Perdue held a joint campaign event in Greensboro.

Today: One of the top-spending Republican super PACs

In November, the Senate Leadership Fund formed Peachtree PAC, a super PAC focusing on Georgia’s runoff elections. 

Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law said, “The fate of our country hangs in the balance in Georgia. This new activity through Peachtree PAC will articulate the stakes couldn’t be higher as the future of freedom is on the ballot.”

On Dec. 16, CBS News reported that Peachtree PAC planned to spend $40 million on the Senate runoff races. As of Dec. 28, Open Secrets reported the group had spent $26.5 million, equally divided between opposing Ossoff and opposing Warnock.

View an ad from Peachtree PAC here.

Click here for yesterday’s feature on Georgia Honor and The Georgia Way, two Democratic super PACs created by the Senate Majority PAC.



The Runoff Report: GA runoff candidates weigh in on COVID relief bill

Note: The Runoff Report will be back Monday, Dec. 28. Happy holidays!

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.

On Dec. 21, Congress passed a $900 billion spending bill containing COVID-19 relief provisions. The bill includes:

  • $325 billion in aid for businesses, including more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $166 billion for direct payments, including $600 for most individuals and $1,200 for most couples
  • $120 billion to temporarily give people on unemployment a $300 weekly supplement
  • $1.4 trillion in funding for government agencies through September

Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue voted to pass the bill. 

President Donald Trump has not signed the bill as of press time. He tweeted a video Tuesday night calling for Congress to increase direct payments to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples and to “get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation.”

Runoff candidate statements about the spending bill, along with other campaign news, are below.

Regular election updates

David Perdue tweeted an ad saying Ossoff “opposed past COVID relief and encouraged Democrats to block additional aid for months, but Sen. Perdue never gave up. Perdue again delivered real, meaningful help for Georgians: $900 billion in new COVID relief, direct checks to Georgians, critical funding for vaccine distribution, small businesses, public schools, and help for folks out of work.”

Perdue also campaigned in Clarke, Jackson, Barrow, Oconee, and Morgan counties on Dec. 22.

Jon Ossoff tweeted, “Even @realdonaldtrump says $600 is a joke. @Perduesenate, do better.” Ossoff said in an interview with MSNBC that he would have voted for the bill because people need help, but that the direct payments are not enough and that Republicans in the Senate, including Perdue, held up relief. Ossoff said, “We need additional, substantial, direct COVID relief, and the only way we’ll get it is by winning these two Senate races in Georgia.”

Ossoff also spoke at Morris Brown College on Dec. 22. He said he would work to secure funding for historically black colleges and universities if elected.

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 tweeted, “We just secured an additional $900 billion in targeted relief, more PPP funding, and extended unemployment benefits by 11 weeks. @ReverendWarnock has done NOTHING to help Georgians during this pandemic except peddle lies and play politics.”

Loeffler also released three new ads. One ad focuses on Loeffler’s plan for investments in minority communities, and the others focus on COVID-19 relief.

Loeffler’s campaign released a statement in response to police body camera footage aired on Fox News on Dec. 22 showing Warnock’s ex-wife making allegations about his behavior. In March, she claimed Warnock had run over her foot with a car. Warnock was not charged, and he has denied the allegation. 

The Loeffler campaign statement read, “Raphael Warnock’s ex-wife Ouleye’s allegations are deeply troubling. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue, and this new body cam footage is certainly difficult to watch. Georgians deserve answers to these very serious allegations, and his ex-wife’s voice deserves to be heard.”  

Raphael Warnock tweeted the following:

“Billionaire @KLoeffler thinks $600 will cover your rent, groceries, and hospital bills.” 

“When we take back the Senate, @ossoff and I will pass $1200 stimulus checks.”

“If Democrats controlled the Senate, aid for essential workers in local governments — firefighters, law enforcement, teachers — would be in the COVID relief bill. Republicans refused to vote for a bill with that aid in it. It’s time to fire @KLoeffler and @Perduesenate.”

Warnock campaign representative Michael Brewer said in response to the police body camera footage that Loeffler “spent her entire campaign attacking Reverend Warnock and has now stooped to a new low of attacking his family. … While she continues to wage her pathetic and dishonest campaign, Reverend Warnock will keep fighting for the people of Georgia who Kelly Loeffler left behind.”

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, Warnock, and public service commissioner runoff candidate Daniel Blackman (D) held a game night event on Twitch.

Today: Runoff voter turnout so far

The following data comes from GeorgiaVotes.com. Ryan Anderson works in data and marketing for the Atlanta firm Bounteous. GeorgiaVotes.com is his personal project.

  • 1,884,692 people had voted in Georgia’s runoff elections as of Dec. 22. That includes:
  • 1,205,483 early in-person votes 
  • 679,209 mail ballots 
  • Runoff turnout so far is 6% lower than at this point in the general election.
    • Turnout is 3% higher for in-person votes
    • Turnout is 19% lower for mail ballots 
  • 57,429 (3%) of those who have cast runoff ballots so far did not vote in the Nov. 3 general election

GeorgiaVotes.com also provides data on runoff turnout as a percentage of total general election turnout by county. We mapped it out. View the map on our site here, where you can hover over each county to see turnout percentages. 

Click here for early voting locations.



Bitnami