In the important Senate runoff elections in the US state of Georgia, the candidates fought head-to-head. According to US media, US President Joe Biden’s Democrats have now achieved their first success. According to their predictions, the candidate Raphael Warnock will prevail against the Republican Kelly Loeffler, as emerged on Wednesday morning (local time) from matching predictions by the broadcasters NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN and the news agency AP.
The race between the Democrat Jon Ossoff and the Republican David Perdue was not initially considered to be decided. It depends on whether the Democrats get control of the powerful Congress Chamber or the Republicans can defend their narrow majority.
If the Democrats can secure control of the Senate, Biden can at least rule through the two years leading up to the next congressional election, if he can assemble the Democrats in parliament behind him. A Republican majority could, for example, prevent him from drafting legislation and put obstacles in the way of appointing judges to the Supreme Court or cabinet members. Candidates for these and other high government offices must be approved by a majority of the senators.
Both parties had declared the vote to be a “choice of fate”
Both parties had declared the votes on Tuesday to be a fateful election for the country and were hoping for a high turnout from their own camp. According to statistics from the Elections Project, around 3 million of the 7.2 million registered voters in Georgia cast their ballots by letter or in person at the polling station before the actual election day.
The incumbent US President Donald Trump continues to raise unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the presidential election on November 3 and refuses to admit defeat. There had been concerns among his Republicans that this would undermine the prospects of success for the two Republican candidates in Georgia. The fear was that Trump’s allegations of “stolen” votes could deter Republicans from casting their votes.
In Georgia, however, the Republicans had a better starting position: there, a single win in the two runoff elections is enough for them to maintain their narrow majority in the Senate. In contrast, both Democrats must win the races against the previous Republican incumbents in order to achieve a de facto majority in the Congress Chamber.
Two Democratic victories in Georgia would result in a 50-50 stalemate in the Senate. Such a stalemate could then be resolved ex officio by the future Vice President Kamala Harris in favor of the Democrats – she is also President of the Senate.
In November, the United States voted not only on the future president, but also on the composition of the House of Representatives – the other chamber of parliament – and around a third of the 100 seats in the Senate. Each state is represented in the Senate by two people’s representatives. In Georgia, both seats were an option. None of the candidates achieved the necessary absolute majority in the first vote in November.