According to several Democratic donors and donor advisors who described a spate of phone calls on the matter to realign funds, high-dollar donors have already been hired to provide resources for the Georgia races. For example, the anti-abortion group Women Speak Out PAC announced spending of $ 4 million on the two races on Thursday, and the traditional GOP apparatus is already asking for contributions.
“The fate of the Senate majority is at stake in Georgia. If you don’t show up now, Schumer and the Dems will take control, ”the National Republican Senatorial Committee wrote in a text message to donors on Thursday afternoon with a link to the committee’s donation page.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate for incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, even went on the air Thursday and ran his first run-off TV ad.
The race between GOP Senator David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff hadn’t been scheduled until Thursday afternoon, but Perdue’s share of the vote was slightly below the 50 percent threshold required to finally win the race. Loeffler, who was named to her seat when Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) Retired, will face Warnock in a special election runoff to fill the remainder of Isakson’s tenure.
It will be an uphill battle especially for Democrats who need to juice up the turnout for the runoff elections, which have historically lower turnout rates.
But the twin races’ sky-high stakes – neither Republicans nor Democrats achieved a Senate majority after election day – coupled with the huge sums of money expected to flow into the state are sure to make them competitive.
Indeed, Democrats have reasons to be optimistic – namely that Joe Biden Georgia could narrowly win this year after decades of GOP dominance, despite the fact that the race was not called there and remains extremely close. Both Loeffler and Perdue are close allies of President Donald Trump, and they have worked closely with him throughout the election campaign.
And Democrats see the twin races as an opportunity for salvation after failing to live up to expectations in other battlefield states this cycle.
“I think there is some energy to quit the job,” said a Georgia Democrat, who asked for anonymity to discuss the races before they are officially set. “We broke the plan to retake the Senate, and having a second blow on it feels like stepping off the sofa in the middle of the vacation. I think people will be motivated. “
Before the Georgia races are decided, Republicans will likely have 50 Senate seats versus 48 Democrats. Both parties currently have 48 seats, and Republicans have a head start in North Carolina and Alaska, although no state has been appointed.
If the Democrats manage to win both Georgia seats and Biden becomes president, a 50:50 Senate would pass the majority to Chuck Schumer, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the casting vote. If the Democrats fall short, Mitch McConnell will remain the majority leader.
“Donors’ attention is first to ensure that this election is won [for Joe Biden]”Said Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, a group focused on mobilizing black voters,” but there is also an awareness that attention needs to be drawn now – and preparations have been made, assuming more would be Weeks take a drain or two – on those drains in Georgia, so we’re there now. ”
Steve Phillips, another Democratic donor who founded Democracy in Color, also said he had started taking calls from donors.
“I will try to target and advise as many people as possible to shift their resources mainly to infrastructure that can increase voter turnout,” he quoted Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial race – but when she narrowly lost her bid, turnout increased dramatically – as a blueprint for the two runoff elections.
There are some lingering fears that beyond the 2020 cycle, some donor money may have fallen into an abyss since then The Senate Democrats had unprecedented sums of money but were unable to turn over additional GOP seats.
“There are a lot of big Democratic donors who are totally persistent and they are already preparing to turn to Georgia,” said a New York Democratic donor. “But there are other donors who say, ‘We raised millions for the Senate and they didn’t turn it around. So money is clearly not the answer, and you may have bigger problems that money can’t fix. ”
It is only a matter of time before some other external groups with deep pockets dive in. The Senate Leadership Fund, a super-PAC modeled on McConnell, spent $ 36 million on the Perdue race in the run-up to November alone and is likely to be heavily involved in the outflows. The Senate majority, PAC, voted with Schumer, spent $ 27 million on advertising and invested heavily in field and switch operations in the state.
“We are determined to help Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win these seats in January,” said Rachel Irwin, Senate Majority spokeswoman PAC.
External efforts are not yet complete. It’s a dynamic that played out throughout the fall as Warnock released positive messages about his biography while Republicans waged an internal war over who would advance to the runoff election. However, that will change dramatically when the GOP hits that Warnock pointed out in its ad hit. One narrator jokes that Warnock eats pizza with a fork and knife and hates puppies.
“Get ready, Georgia. The negative ads are coming, ”says Warnock in the ad. “Kelly Loeffler doesn’t want to talk about why she’s getting rid of health care in the middle of a pandemic, so she’s going to try to scare you with lies about me.”
Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s spokesman, previewed some of these attacks in a statement calling Warnock “the most radically liberal candidate in the country, calling our police officers gangsters, thugs and bullies, supporting and advocating trillions of new tax hikes Jeremiah Wright’s “God Damn America” agenda. “
Both parties need to get up and running quickly. Registration closes on December 7th. According to the Georgian Foreign Minister’s calendar, the earliest date for sending postal ballot papers for the runoff is November 18. The personal early voting begins on December 14th.
Both Perdue and Ossoff’s campaign managers released statements about the potential runoff and expressed confidence in their messages and strategies, which will continue successfully into January.
Ben Fry, Perdue’s campaign manager, said in a statement that if “overtime is required when all the votes have been counted, we are ready and will win.”
Ellen Foster, Ossoff’s campaign manager, said they were confident that January voters would vote for him and “defend their health care and put the interests of working families and small businesses before corporate lobbyists”.
“Georgia is now clearly a purple battlefield state,” said Scott Fairchild, executive director of the DSCC, describing Perdue as a “scandal-ridden incumbent unable to defend his records of outsourcing and corruption.”
Kevin McLaughlin, who heads the NRSC, countered that Perdue “won this race in regular time and will do so in extra time”. He said the state had already rejected Ossoff’s “liberal, socialist agenda” and would do so again.