Both Senate seats in Georgia were up for reelection this November. While one of the Senate seats was a routine reelection, the second was a special election. The special election arose from the resignation of Republican Senator Johnny Isakson in December 2019. In accordance with Georgia law, Governor Brian Kemp appointed Republican Kelly Loeffler as an interim replacement until the next election in November 2020.
The 2020 election results indicated that in both the Senate races neither candidate received a majority of the votes. The election outcome was as follows:
Kelly Loeffler (R) – 25.9%
Raphael Warnock (D) – 32.9%
David Perdue (R) – 49.7%
Jon Ossoff (D) – 47.9%
Georgia state law (Code 21-2-501) stipulates that a candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected to public office. If no candidate is able to receive a majority, then the top two candidates compete in a special run-off election. The Georgia special election is scheduled for January 5, 2021.
This election is significant for both the Republicans and Democrats because the results will decide which party has a majority in the U.S. Senate. President-elect Biden will inherit a country in crises due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic and an economy diving into a recession. A Democratic majority in the Senate will help President-elect Biden pass legislation, push through nominations and move forward with his policy agenda with less obstacles. Democrats need to win both the seats to have a majority in the Senate.
Although most of us cannot vote in the Georgia special election, we can help by volunteering, donating to the Warnock and Ossoff campaign, and engaging in positive, informed and persuasive discourse.