The Balance of Power in the Senate

Georgia Senate Runoff Elections Will Decide


The race is on for two Georgia senate seats, with incumbents Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue (third-left) up against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock (second-left) and Jon Ossoff (right) respectively.

Following the presidential election in early November, all eyes are turning towards Georgia for two run-off Senate elections occurring in the state that narrowly voted for president-elect Joe Biden. The two Republican candidates, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, were unable to win more than 50% of the vote, leading to a run-off election occuring on January 5. The stakes are enormous; if democrats could win both races, they would control the Senate.
If one or both of the two Democratic senators, John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, win their elections, it would be the first time a Democratic senator has won in the state since 1996. It seems unlikely, but they shouldn’t be ruled out. A growing population of young voters, especially in Atlanta, lean heavily Democratic. NPR predicts that around 20% of Georgia’s votes in the presidential election came from voters between the ages of 18 and 29. However, the GOP still feels that they have the advantage. They believe that many of the voters who turned up for the presidential election were just there to get President Trump out of office, and in the run-off, in which historically the Republican side fares better, the GOP feels they can secure the two seats for Perdue and Loeffler.
The importance of these two seats in the Senate are tantamount for a successful Biden administration, as without a Democratic senate, Biden will have to rely on centrist Republicans and executive actions to push his agenda forward. Democrats can gain control of the Senate if they are able to turn both seats for Ossoff and Warnock. In that scenario, the Senate would be split 50/50. Vice-president Kamala Harris would cast the deciding vote as per the Constitution. Democrats would effectively control both the legislative and executive branches, and therefore would be able to push Biden’s agenda across. In the case that either of the two (or both) of the seats falls to a Republican candidate, the Senate maintains a Republican majority of either 51/49 or 52/48, making Biden’s plans for reform that much more difficult.