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Double Your Georgia Senate Runoff, Double Your Fun!
Also double your angst until January 5.
As more and more of the absentee ballots in Georgia have been counted, it's looking like there are going to be two runoff elections for the US Senate come January 5, 2021. That's assuming that annus maximus horribilis 2020 isn't capped off by the destruction of the Earth by a rogue asteroid or everyone in China jumping off a chair at the exact same moment.
Barring that, we've got us a couple of runoffs coming up. We already knew about one, which will be between incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the top two finishers in Tuesday's million-candidate "primary" to fill the seat of old whatsisname that retired (I really don't care, do u?). And now, as absentee ballots continue to be counted (giving Joe Biden a narrow lead over Donald Trump in the count), the total percentage of votes for incumbent Sen David Perdue has slipped below 50 percent, meaning there will likely be a runoff between him and Democrat Jon Ossoff too, because the Libertarian whoever-it-was received just enough votes to prevent a clear majority for either Ossoff or Perdue.
Get ready for Georgia to become the focus of all the political junkies in America in the next couple months, assuming Donald Trump doesn't order nuclear strikes on all the states he thinks let him down.
Mind you, we do need to wait on the final count, yadda yadda, which in theory could still go Perdue's way. That's not terribly likely, given that the remaining uncounted ballots — as of this morning, bout 10,000 absentee ballots in all, mostly from the Atlanta area — are from heavily Democratic precincts. There are also a few thousand military and overseas ballots and provisional ballots from Election Day, but probably not enough to put Perdue back over 50 percent.
It's going to be rough going for both Ossoff and Warnock. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, no Democrat has won a statewide runoff in Georgia since the runoff system went into place with the 1992 election ( GEE COULD THAT BE WHY THERE'S A RUNOFF SYSTEM? Not that we're cynical or anything.]
But there are plenty of reasons to hope this could be the year to break that. For one, there's the fantastic job of organizing done by Stacey Abrams and others to get new voters registered, which already paid off on Tuesday by forcing both runoffs, and by probably turning Georgia blue in the presidential election. There's a lot of energy and hunger left over.
There's also the fact that Democrats didn't quite take back the Senate in the other races. Georgia's two seats could change that: If the Senate is tied at 50-50, we all know (even Dok!), then the vice president votes to break ties. And getting to a place where Kamala Harris could be that tie breaker is a hell of a motivation, no?
There's also the unknown unknown of what Donald Trump is going to get up to in his final weeks in office. No telling what will happen there, but it's not likely to be anything less than a shitshow, which could lead some voters to go with Warnock and Perdue in disgust.
It's going to be super ugly. Mitch McConnell and the rightwing dark money machine will be throwing everything they have at the runoffs, and based on Tuesday's results, we should know better than to hope a majority of white voters will break with the GOP, not even if Loeffler literally starts dressing like Genghis Khan and saying she's Attila the Hun.
And as pundits keep pointing out, Get Out the Vote efforts for runoffs are considerably harder than for a general election. Without the motivation and public awareness of a national election, the average voter just may not bother getting out. That could leave the runoff decided by highly motivated partisan voters, as with primaries.
But again, this political year has been pretty good at blowing up conventional wisdom: Georgia saw record high turnout for the primaries, even with the pandemic and a day-long fuck-tussle at the polls. That could certainly hold for the runoffs, too.
So get ready, and get involved. Instead of throwing money at the individual campaigns at the moment, we'd suggest a donation to Stacey Abrams's Fair Fight today, and then we'll see how the runoff strategy becomes clearer — which is to say, we're waiting to see what Abrams tells us what to do.
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