For most people, the election commercials are over. The robocalls are done. Regardless of the outcome of the counting, some of the most annoying features of elections are over. They can now ignore campaigns for another two years at least.
However, in Georgia, we’re not so lucky.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her seat. Under Georgia law, that means she had to run for election at the next election, which was Tuesday’s. However, Georgia law also makes it a jungle primary, so everyone from both parties–and associated independents–ran. My home state is also one of those states where the win doesn’t go to the candidate who gets the highest number of votes, either. They have to get 50 percent plus one vote to take it.
With so many people running, though, it was unlikely anyone was getting that total.
Now, Loeffler stands opposed to Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Warnock actually won the jungle primary with 33 percent of the vote to Loeffler’s 26 percent. It would be easy to look at that and think Loeffler is doomed and Georgia is going to have at least one Democratic senator (the other race up for grabs is leaning for Sen. David Perdue rather than Democrat John Ossoff), but one shouldn’t be too sure.
See, Loeffler may have come in second in the jungle primary, but third place went to Doug Collins, a Republican representative who garnered another 20 percent of the vote.
He’s already thrown his support behind Loeffler.
Still, with all the Democrats likely throwing their support behind Warnock, does Loeffler have a chance? Oh, she most definitely does.
A few years back, we saw a similar situation brew. John Ossoff won the jungle primary but lost the House race to Karen Handel. That was because out-of-state forces through everything they had behind Ossoff, but it wasn’t enough to push him over the finish line with more than 50 percent of the vote.
This time around, Warnock is in the exact same position. He’s had major party push, including commercials featuring Barack Obama. He’s raised a lot of money and spent a lot of money to get that 33 percent of the vote, but now the questions begin.
Can he rally the out-of-state troops to back him once again? If so, will it matter?
Honestly, if you take percentages from each party and assume those who backed one Democrat or Republican would vote for another, Warnock doesn’t have a lot working for him. About 50 percent of the votes went for Republicans while 49 percent went for Democrats. The fly in the ointment are third-party or independent candidates, but at best, that will give a fairly even split.
The thing is, that’s assuming Warnock can rally Democrats more than Republicans. The GOP will likely focus on Georgia like a laser, throwing money at Loeffler and doing everything they can to help her win. Meanwhile, there’s a good chance that Democratic money dried up for the year. After all, they spent hundreds of millions trying to flip a number of states, only for it to backfire on them spectacularly. Is anyone willing to risk it all again?
Either way, though, this runoff race will be an important one, as it could ultimately determine who controls the Senate chamber. Without counting the Georgia senate races, Republicans should have at last 50 senators if Thom Tillis wins in North Carolina. Perdue may end up getting less than 50% in his race, which would send him and Ossoff into another runoff. If the GOP can hold at least one of their Georgia senate seats, that would guarantee that we’ll be talking about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year, not Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.