Georgians feel the weight of the nation as they vote in US Senate runoffs

Georgians feel the weight of the nation as they vote in US Senate runoffs

AUGUSTA, G.A. (WIS) - Georgians are aware that the eyes of the political universe are on the choice they make Tuesday. Georgian voters say they’ve been inundated with calls, flyers, texts, and wall-to-wall TV ads encouraging them to vote in the state’s two U.S. Senate runoff races.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have gone into the race between incumbent-Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and his opponent Jon Ossoff and the special election runoff between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The national attention largely comes from the fact that if both Democrats win their respective races, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate will be evenly split and the tiebreaking vote will go to the Democratic Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris. Therefore, if Republicans can’t block the Democrats from taking power in a state where Joe Biden narrowly won in November, they won’t have control in either chamber of Congress.

“I would’ve never thought that Georgia would be in the limelight like we are. Everyone is rooting for Georgia. It’s been a long time since Georgia has been a blue state, but we did it in November and it’s said we can do it again,” North Augusta voter Beatrice Hardee said.

Hardee added this race has been weighing heavily on her community for weeks now since the significance of it has come into national focus.

“On the residents of our state, it’s a lot of pressure to come through… it’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said about the onslaught of messaging from both sides.

Some voters are even voting despite believing the November election results were fraudulent.

“It’s frustrating because I think the whole thing has been rigged. I don’t believe Biden won the election,” Republican voter Johnny Thompson said. “All you can do is come out and vote and hope things are not rigged,” he elaborated.

Thompson said while he still is hoping to see Pres. Trump retain power, he feels it’s important to keep the Senate under the Republican party’s control.

“Everybody is watching because the Senate is going to be controlled one way or another and that is the only thing that is going to stop the radical agenda, what I think is radical,” he said.

Half a dozen other Republican voters who spoke with WIS shared the same point-of-view.

Georgia Republican leaders have repeatedly said their election was not rigged and members of Pres. Trump’s administration have disputed claims of wide-scale voter fraud.

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I think the national election was rigged; I believe that in my heart,” Richard Schultz said after casting his vote for both Loeffler and Perdue.

Democrats also expressed concern about what would happen if two members of the Republican party keep power.

“The current Senators are criminals and I don’t think they should be Senators,” Ron Hummel said. “I just don’t want Republicans to have control of Congress. That’s just my personal opinion,” he added.

Hummel explained he believes Sens. Loeffler and Perdue used private information they learned in their roles as Senators to make money on stocks related to COVID-19.

Sen. Perdue’s team has released an ad addressing these allegations. He claims he wasn’t at the meeting where this information was given out and he was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee. Loeffler has also asserted she did nothing wrong and that she was cleared of allegations of wrongdoing.

For other voters, this race is about what the federal response to COVID-19 will look like in 2021.

“I’m here because people are dying, literally, we have the coronavirus going on right now. We need bills. We need things passed, so we can get the proper resources we need,” Democratic voter Cameron West said.

He said there has been a bright spot to all the national attention on his state, he is proud to say he is better informed now than before.

“I didn’t care about politics this much before now,” he said.

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