By Mia McElhatton
Georgia Run-Off Elections
This past Tuesday Georgia held the run-off elections for both US Senate seats. Both Jon Ossof (D) and Raphael Warnock (D) won their races against David Perdue (R ) Kelly Loeffler (R) solidifying the democrats’ control of the Senate.
Why was there a runoff?
In Georgia, for general elections, any candidate must win more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate wins 50% of the vote then the top two candidates advance to a runoff. In this past general election in both US senate races, no candidate won more than 50% of the vote.
Why were these races so important?
After the November election, all eyes were on Georgia to see what happens in this run-off election. In November, the Democrats held on to the majority in the house, gained 3 seats in the Senate, as well as winning the presidency with Joe Biden. The Georgia elections then became even more important. If the Democrats won the Georgia runoffs, there would be an equal number of republicans and democrats in the senate with the newly elected Vice President, Kamala Harris (D), as the tiebreaker. Mich McConnel also loses his role of senate majority leader and is replaced by Chuck Schumer (D) from New York. The democratic party now has “control” of the house, senate, and presidency for the first time since 2011.
For some background on the candidates, Raphael Warnock is a pastor from Atlanta born in Savannah. He is the first Black democrat elected to the senate in a southern state. Warnock has advocated for many key issues such as ending mass incarceration, supporting education, reproductive rights, and many others. His opponent Kelly Loeffler has continually supported Trump’s claims of election fraud. In mid-2020, Kelly Loeffler and her husband were accused of using their early knowledge of coronavirus to trade and sell their stocks. Loeffler was appointed in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp when Sen. Johnny Isakson vacated his seat. Traditionally there is only one seat up for election per state during a given election but because Loeffler was appointed there was a special election.
Jon Ossoff (D) will be the youngest senator and is the first Jewish senator from Georgia. In his campaign, Ossoff has used social media platforms such as TikTok to appeal to younger voters. He also advocates for health, investments in clean energy and infrastructure, and supporting working families/small businesses. David Perdue (R ) has been a senator in Georgia since 2014. Perdue does not support funding to programs such as social security and medicare but did support lowering taxes for corporations and increasing military spending.
What does this mean going forward?
Now that the Democrats have control of the house, senate, and presidency they can pass through new progressive policy, and hopefully President-elect Joe Biden will be able to follow through on the policy he has preached. In the next two years, we need to hold our politicians accountable for passing through policy and legislation they have said they support. This election is a step in the right direction for the democrat party but action needs to follow.