Runoffs in GA could decide balance of power in Senate, SC politicians lend support

Runoffs in GA could decide balance of power in Senate, SC politicians lend support

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The two U.S. Senate runoff races in Georgia have captured the attention of the nation, and South Carolina is no exemption.

The balance of power in the Senate is resting on the results of these races because two extra Democratic votes in the key chamber brings the party to 50 members. Therefore, if there was ever a vote that came down to a tie, the Vice President would break the tie. Considering Kamala Harris is the Vice President-Elect, if both Democrats win both races, they will have a slim majority in the Senate.

With those high stakes in mind, Democrat and Republican Party leaders in South Carolina say they are willing to do anything they can to help the candidates from their respective party win.

“I want Joe Biden to have the success I know his administration can have,” said South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson.

Robertson’s Republican counterpart, SC GOP Chair Drew McKissick, agreed these races are consequential.

“We are talking about not only control of the Senate from a partisan standpoint but an issue standpoint. What it means in terms of what Democrats may or may not do,” he explained.

After no winner was declared in the November election, both races went to a runoff that has been scheduled for January 5, 2021.

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after her predecessor retired, is being challenged by Rev. Rafael Warnock after no candidate won the majority in a crowded race with more than 10 candidates.

Her colleague, Sen. David Perdue, is facing Democrat Jon Ossoff after the Senator failed to reach more than 50% of the vote in November.

Robertson said his priorities have been wrapping up the election that was just held in South Carolina and sending resources to Georgia.

“Anything the people in Georgia need we are willing to help facilitate,” Robertson said.

He added his party is excited to help campaign for Ossoff and Warnock but plan to do it in a COVID-safe way on the Georgia party’s terms.

“We’ve been inundated with calls, inundated with people asking us [to help]… we need to make sure we are not doing something they don’t need or want, there have been virtual phone banks virtual canvassing opportunities,” he said of the Democrat’s campaigns in Georgia.

But while local Democrats are concentrating on helping their party from their own state, Republicans are sending people to help on the ground in Georgia in addition to assisting virtually.

“The main thing is actually helping with manpower, we found that elections at the end of the day are all about votes, and what can we do to turn out more votes in Georgia. That means more manpower, that means door knocks, that means phone calls, that means folks actually turning out in Georgia to do poll watching,” he said.

McKissick said having just helped with a high-profile campaign right next door, South Carolina Republicans were ready to lend a hand wherever needed.

“It’s easy for us to transfer people into Georgia to be helpful there, they are coming off a successful campaign in South Carolina, Very experienced. And obviously very good at what they do,” McKissick said. “Anything we can do to help our fellow Republicans in Georgia we will do and continue to do right up until January 5th,” he added.

Robertson believes between the spike in COVID-19 cases and the rarity of two Senate runoffs happening in one state at the same time, this race is not like the race between Graham and Harrison when the Democrat lost.

However, McKissick said the type of on-the-ground manpower they are lending to the Georgia Republicans is part of a larger strategy that is like the campaign that helped secure the seat for Graham.

“It cost them. And I suspect it will cost them in Georgia, again,” he said.

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