“Former President Donald Trump’s backing of football great Herschel Walker to run for the Georgia Senate seat has been enough to effectively freeze the GOP field in place — even though some Republicans privately worry the political neophyte might fizzle against Sen. Raphael Warnock in a high-stakes general election,” CNN reports.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) “has hardly slowed his torrid fundraising pace since his narrow January runoff victory,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“The Democrat’s campaign said Thursday he raised more than $5.7 million from more than 101,000 supporters between Jan. 6 and March 31 – totaling what Warnock’s aides say is the highest off-year fundraising quarter in Georgia history. He ends the quarter with $5.6 million in the bank.”
“Navy veteran Latham Saddler announced a challenge to U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock on Thursday with hopes of emphasizing his military experience to appeal to conservatives in what’s likely to be a crowded Republican primary,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) is considering a challenge to Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) next year, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“Allies of the West Point Republican said he was consulting with national and state GOP figures about a campaign against Warnock, who defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a January runoff special election and faces a 2022 contest for a full six-year term.”
Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) announced that he will not run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia next year.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution says Perdue’s decision clears the way for other Republicans to enter what could be a crowded 2022 race against Democrat Raphael Warnock.
Backstory from Maggie Haberman: “Perdue had dinner with and played a long round of golf with Trump last week. It did not go well. Two people briefed on the meetings said Trump was very focused on McConnell and Kemp and retribution.”
Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Over 752,000 Georgia voters who cast ballots in the presidential election didn’t show up again for the runoffs just two months later.”
“More than half of the no-shows were white, and many lived in rural areas, constituencies that lean toward Republican candidates.”
“Meanwhile, 228,000 new voters cast ballots in the runoffs who hadn’t voted in the Nov. 3 election. They were more racially diverse and younger voters who tend to back Democrats.”
David Perdue (R) conceded to Jon Ossoff (D) on Friday, ending Georgia’s runoffs for control of the U.S. Senate days after his campaign floated potential legal action to contest his narrow defeat, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
NBC News projects that Jon Ossoff (D) defeated Sen. David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.
With the victory now official, Democrats take control of the Senate.
Jon Ossoff (D) declared victory in Georgia’s Senate runoff election Wednesday morning as tallies showed him leading incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) by just over 16,000 votes.
Ossoff’s lead is currently within the 0.5 percent margin that would trigger a statewide recount in the race.
Jonathan Swan: “He told advisers he didn’t think he needed to go back. Both candidates, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, put in a huge behind-the-scenes effort to get him to go back. He plugged them during his Monday rally, but also ranted about the state’s Republican officials and election machinery.”
“Trump was fixated on his own grievances and on increasingly untethered scenarios for how he might overturn the election.”
“It took great effort to get him to focus on any other subject or to convince him that anything beyond his own election factored into his self-interest.”
Associated Press: “Warnock, senior pastor of the church where Martin Luther King preached through the height of the Civil Rights movement until his assassination, made history with a surge in Black turnout.”
“To be sure, a narrow win out of 4.4 million votes involves plenty of variables. But Black voters were a force in the early vote and on Election Day. Notably, it wasn’t just in metro Atlanta, but also in rural and small-town counties across South Georgia, where Black turnout has historically lagged.”
“That means it was an alliance spanning from the most affluent Black residents of Atlanta, including recent transplants to Georgia, to those Black Georgia natives who hail from the most economically depressed pockets of the state.”
Playbook: “Loeffler’s reputation has been burned. Appointed to her office to help the GOP compete in the suburbs, she failed in her first election. Yet today, she’ll take the anti-democratic step of voting against Biden’s Electoral College win, sealed with millions of lawfully cast ballots in Georgia and across the nation. Loeffler’s money helped finance a brutal campaign against Warnock that provoked Black voters, including the players on the WNBA team she owns.”
“Perdue’s troubles are a testament to the perils of embracing Trumpism. A one-time free-trading establishment Republican, he received 88,000 more votes than Ossoff on Nov. 3, forced into a runoff because he failed to break 50%. He then felt the need to tie himself to Trump even tighter, although Biden had defeated the president in Georgia. As he ran harder right, he ceded the center to Ossoff.”
“While Perdue donned regular-guy denim and Loeffler began dressing as if she drove an 18-wheeler, Democrats made sure to highlight just how rich the two senators were. They were savaged for privately trading stocks after receiving briefings on coronavirus, the threat of which they publicly downplayed.”
Axios: “Top Republicans blame Trump for sabotaging what should have been two easy wins — turning off suburban voters with his chaos and craziness, and sowing distrust of the Peach State election machinery with base voters.”
As of this post, there is still no official projection in either U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia, but the New York Times’s needle is very confident that both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will win.
It’s not official but it’s very hard to see a path for either Republican short of a major tabulation error.
That would mean the U.S. Senate will be comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any ties.
It’s an unbelievably dramatic end to the 2020 election cycle.
I’ll be on Julie Mason Mornings on Sirius XM 124 just after 6 a.m. ET to discuss these results — and what promises to be yet another crazy day in American politics.
If you’re watching the election needles over at the New York Times, Nate Silver points out that they started from an assumption that both Senate runoffs in Georgia were tied, rather than starting with the polling averages which showed a small Democratic lead.
Update from Nate Cohn: “My strongly held view is that the needles are greatly overstating the uncertainty at this point.“
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) faces Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) in the special election runoff, and former Sen. David Perdue (R) is up against Jon Ossoff (D) in the regular election runoff.
Polls close at 7 p.m. ET.
Leave your reactions in the comments.
Politico: “The most tightly divided state in the nation will decide on Tuesday which party controls the Senate — and in true 2020 fashion, we might not know who won on election night. All signs point to a photo finish.”
“If you think of the election as a race for Republicans to catch up to Democrats’ early-voting advantage on Election Day, think of the vote count as the opposite. The GOP incumbents will likely build a lead early in the counting process — can Democrats catch up?”