Major Senate runoff: Georgia goes head-to-head

Important Senate runoff election
Georgia is going head-to-head

The Senate runoff election in the US state of Georgia is turning into a tremendous game. After counting more than 60 percent of the votes, there is still no winner. Much is at stake for Republicans and Democrats.

Several hours after the closing of the polling stations in the US state of Georgia, the outcome of the immensely important Senate by-elections is still completely open. Late on Tuesday evening (local time), the two Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue and their challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of the Democratic Party were close together after counting just over 60 percent of the vote. The US television stations therefore did not want to declare any winners at this point in time. According to officials, it can take several days for the winners to be determined.

In the southern state, the future distribution of power will be decided in Washington: It is a question of whether the Republican Party of outgoing President Donald Trump will remain in the Senate or whether the Democrats of future President Joe Biden will gain the upper hand.

Since the Democrats already have a majority in the House of Representatives – the other Chamber of Congress – they would in future have control of the entire Congress if they won the two Senate seats from Georgia.

As things stand, the Republicans have at least 50 seats in the new Senate and the Democrats at least 48. If the Georgia Democrats win both seats, this would result in a stalemate. Nevertheless, the Democrats would then have an advantage, because in the event of a stalemate, the future Vice President Kamala Harris, who by virtue of her office will also be Senate President, would have the casting vote.

Republicans, on the other hand, only need to defend one of their two Senate seats in Georgia to stay in the majority in the Chamber. The by-elections had become necessary because none of the Senate candidates in Georgia had got more than 50 percent in the November 3rd congressional election, held in parallel to the presidential election. This requires runoff elections under Georgia’s electoral laws.

During appearances in Georgia on Monday, Biden and Trump emphasized the immense importance of the runoff elections for the whole country. The state may decide not just about the future of the US in the next four years, but about the future of the "next generation," said Biden. He was referring to his reform plans, for example in social and environmental policy. Trump said the Senate by-elections may be the "last chance to save the America we love".

The Democrats' control over the entire Congress would make it much easier for Biden to govern. If, on the other hand, the Republicans retain a majority in the Senate, they can block the future president's political plans and personnel decisions. Biden is due to replace Trump in the White House on January 20.

. (tagsToTranslate) politics (t) Georgia (t) elections