Two Senate run-off elections upcoming in Georgia


Mandy Wong

It’s been 20 years since a Democrat has won a Senate race in Georgia.

Mandy Wong, Senior Editor

On January 5th, residents of the state of Georgia will elect two senators, effectively determining which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Congress is made of the Senate and the house of representatives. In the Senate, each state has two seats, and both are up for grabs in Georgia.

“The reason there are two races is because one of their incumbents, Kelly Loeffler, was appointed last year to temporarily fill a seat. That race is a special election.  The other seat, held by incumbent David Perdue, is based on the end of the term,” said AP Government teacher Samuel Weaver.

In the special election, Kelly Loeffler (R) is campaigning against Raphael Warnock (D), and in the other run-off, David Perdue (R) is running against Jon Ossoff (D).

Georgia requires winners of statewide offices to win over 50% of the votes, but neither of the two senate races had a majority winner. So, the top two candidates for each election moved on to a run-off for the important Senate seats.

“The Senate carries special weight because of the advice and consent power of the Senate. All Federal appointments, Cabinet Secretaries, judges, justices, etc. need Senatorial approval,” said Weaver.

“If there are any vacancies in the supreme court, they need the people in the Senate to confirm supreme court justice,” said Comp Civics student Jay Vyas (‘21).

Currently, 48 seats are held by Democrats and 50 are held by Republicans. This means that if Democrats win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50. In that case, the vice president – Kamala Harris – would be the tiebreaker when making decisions, essentially giving Democrats control over the Senate.

At the moment, Democrats control the House of Representatives. For Democratic president incumbent Joe Biden, Democratic control of the Senate as well will greatly affect what he is able to accomplish in office.

“Having unified control of the government is always important when you are the majority party,” said Weaver. “The fewer obstacles to that limitation means the easier it is to implement your policy agenda.” 

On the other hand, Republicans lost the presidency but can limit the administration’s reach by controlling the Senate.

“If there’s any major legislation put out, for instance the new stimulus bill, or Biden’s infrastructure plans, it has to pass the senate. So if it was Republican controlled, they might not pass it, or the bill would have to be watered down in order to gain support,” said Comp Civics student Matthew Day (‘21).

All eyes are on Georgia as their two run-off elections decide which party controls the Senate for the next two years.