The US state of Georgia will wrap up polling on Tuesday evening in two key elections that will determine which party will control the 100-member Senate.
If Democrats win both the seats that are up for grabs, the Senate will have a split majority of 50 seats each for the two parties, which will put Democrats in control of the chamber – given that the tie-breaking vote will come from vice president-elect Kamal Harris, a Democrat.
Democrats already control the House of Representatives. President-elect Joe Biden will have an easier time pursing his legislative agenda if his party wins these two seats in Georgia.
If Republicans win the two seats, the GOP will continue to hold sway over the Senate that they currently control.
Democrats Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and Reverend Raphael Warnock, a preacher, are running to unseat Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
“Georgia, there is no one in America with more power to make it happen than you, the citizens of Georgia,” Biden said at an election rally in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. “By electing Jon and the Reverend, you can break the gridlock that has gripped Washington and this nation. With their votes in the Senate, we’ll be able to make the progress we need to make on jobs and health care and justice and the environment and so many other things.”
More than 3 million voters in Georgia have already cast their votes in the runoff election through early in-person and mail-in voting.
President Donald Trump held an election rally for Loeffler and Perdue, who is in quarantine after exposure to a person infected with Covid-19, in another part of the state.
He spent more time airing unproven claims of election fraud that he has alleged caused his defeat in the state, a Republican stronghold.
“Hello, Georgia. By the way, there is no way we lost Georgia. There’s no way,” Trump said as he took the stage. “That was a rigged election. But we are still fighting it.”
The outgoing US president used the rally to drum up support from Republicans for his election fraud charges that lawmakers allied to Trump are planning will cite on Wednesday to force congress to overturn his poll defeat.
The Senate and the House will meet in a joint session to certify election results sent in by the states – the last stage in the presidential election process. The efforts are expected to fail because they don’t have the numbers and or the constitutional authority to block the certification of Biden’s victory. Many Republicans, too, are opposed to this bid.
Trump will also address a rally in Washington, DC to further his case. The US capital is bracing for violence, and as his supporters have begun arriving there, city officials have called in the National Guard, arrested a leader of the group Proud Boys, and prohibited firearms at the site of the rally.