The Democratic one-two in Georgia will have a huge impact on the legislative agenda of President-elect Joe Biden as he will not be forced to navigate a Republican Senate and negotiate with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the first few years of his term in office.
The Georgia results are a triumphant coda for the 2020 Democratic campaign season, which began last year with high hopes of regaining control of the Senate.
Instead, Democratic candidates fell behind on many battlefields across the country as the races for the two Senate seats in Georgia went to the runoff after no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in the November election.
In this election, Perdue – a former managing director and senator in his first term – just missed the 50 percent threshold to win re-election immediately, but was still around 88,000 votes ahead of Ossoff.
Since then, the two candidates have been involved in an individual competition in which Ossoff Perdue repeatedly attacks about the timing of his stock deals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ossoff was particularly fierce during a debate in October and prompted Perdue to skip a subsequent television forum in December.
For his part, Perdue frequently pointed out that he received tens of thousands more votes than Ossoff in November and accused his opponent of being a “trust fund baby” with “scandalous ties” to foreign powers.
However, in recent weeks, Perdue’s re-election campaign had become increasingly embroiled in President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 White House race.
The president’s particular interest in overturning the election results in Georgia, where he lost to Biden, made campaigning difficult for Loeffler and Perdue, who both stood by Trump when he attacked Governor Brian Kemp and other Republican officials.
The two candidates had immediately tried to defend the president’s election fraud allegations while urging Republican voters to return to their runoffs in January.
Perdue also quickly expressed support for Trump’s move to raise coronavirus stimulus checks to $ 2,000, a last-minute request by the president that broke the public stance of most Senate Republicans.
After McConnell blocked the proposal, Ossoff and Warnock began campaigning for the increased payments.
More recently, the runoff elections were rocked by news of a phone call between Trump and Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger in which the president pressured the state’s top electoral officials to find enough votes to undo Biden’s victory.
GOP lawmakers and party officials were increasingly concerned that Trump’s rhetoric, which aimed to sow doubts about Georgia’s electoral process, could cost Republicans the Senate.
And in the final days leading up to the election, Perdue was forced to give up campaigning when he began quarantine after coming into close contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.
At 33, Ossoff is the youngest Democrat to have been elected to the US Senate since Joe Biden in 1972.