Democrats secured their Senate majority earlier this month when they won seats in Nevada and Arizona. Yet there is one last stand in the battle for the Senate: Georgia’s runoff race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
The race will determine whether the Senate will remain evenly split with Democrats and Republicans each holding 50 Senate seats, where Vice President Kamala Harris is cutting ties, or whether Democrats will have a one-seat majority in the Senate.
Here’s our breakdown of the nation’s latest and greatest Senate race.
Why is there a runoff?
In Georgia, if no candidate wins a majority in the general election, the two candidates with the most votes run in the second round. In November, the race between Mr Warnock and Mr Walker also included Libertarian Senate candidate Chase Oliver. Mr. Warnock received the most votes, with 49.44% of the vote, followed by Mr. Walker, a former running back from the University of Georgia, who received 48.49% of the vote. This in turn triggered a runoff.
When is the race for the second round?
In November 2020, Georgia held two Senate races, one for a six-year term and a special election to complete the term of Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned due to health issues. But in both races, no candidate received a majority of votes even as President Joe Biden won the state. This triggered a runoff nine weeks later on January 5, 2021. In response, Georgia’s election bill, which many civil rights advocates feared would suppress votes, shortened the length of the runoff by nine weeks to four weeks.
. As a result, the runoff occurs on December 6. But the law does not change the law which requires voters to be registered 30 days before the second round, meaning neither party will be able to register new voters for the second round.
What are the issues ?
In 2021, the victories of MM. Ossoff and Warnock gave Democrats their narrow 50-50 majority, where the vice president is cutting ties. That, combined with the Democrats holding the House of Representatives and the White House, meant the Democrats had a trifecta and could pass much of their agenda. They, in turn, passed the American Rescue Plan Act, Mr. Biden’s Covid-19 relief package; a bipartisan infrastructure bill; and the Inflation Reduction Act, which tackled climate change and drug prices. Mr. Warnock, for his part, has championed lowering the price of insulin.
In November, every other Democrat with a contested Senate seat won re-election, including Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona; Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Additionally, Democrat John Fetterman flipped Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, but Democratic challengers from North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio lost their races. That leaves Democrats with 50 Senate seats and Republicans with 49 seats.
The Democrats will hold the majority regardless, but a 51-49 Senate composition would give them advantages on committee composition. Additionally, they could likely confirm many of Mr. Biden’s other judicial nominees.
When does early voting start?
Early voting in Georgia begins November 28. But Mr Warnock’s campaign, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and the Georgia Democratic Party also won a case that would allow counties to hold early voting next Saturday. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, previously said early voting could not take place because Georgia law prohibits early voting on a Saturday if a holiday falls on the Thursday or Friday immediately before, reports The Associated. Press.