In a month, two Republican candidates will run against their Democratic rivals, as none of the four managed to break the 50% threshold needed to win in November.
Should Democrats take the seats in Georgia, the two political parties will have a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which means that if Joe Biden occupies the White House, the Dems will grab control over the upper chamber with Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) being a potential tiebreaker.
Crucial Senate Runoffs
There are three questions about the Georgia Senate runoff elections on 5 January, says US investigative journalist Mark Dankof.
"The first is the question of the legitimacy of vote counting. The second involves the changing demographics of the Deep South, which mirror this national development since the Immigration Reform Act of 1965. The third issue is related to the second: turnout. The Democratic Party’s ability to turnout African Americans in urban Georgia will be the key to who wins these races."
When it comes to the state's demography, one can hardly overestimate the changes which have occurred over the last decade: according to Politico, the immigrant population leaped 84% between 2010 and 2018, "putting Georgia on the fast track to become majority-minority by 2030". The state has seen an influx of young people of colour who, according to some estimates, tend to vote for the Democratic Party. As a result, the Old South and the New South clashed in the 2020 general elections this November, according to the magazine. On the other hand, in late October, National Public Radio (NPR) cited a substantial surge in black voter turnout in the state during the early voting this year.
"I have yet to see any meaningful poll numbers from the more reputable polling agencies on what is going on in Georgia", says Dankof. "On the basis of visceral reaction and not solid scientific polling data, I will predict GOP victories and the retention in the US Senate of the two GOP incumbents, but I would not suggest to any of your readers that they bet any money on this."
The Georgia outcome is clearly critical to the GOP strategy of stymying Biden’s agenda in the next two-four years should the former vice president take the White House, according to the investigative journalist.
"Trump’s endorsements and trip to Georgia will energise his own base", he opines. "The problem is in ascertaining how his personal involvement in Georgia will inflame his opposition to guarantee a massive turnout of their own voters."
GOP Split & Alleged Voter Fraud in Georgia
While statistical data on demographic change and African American voter activity in the state is more or less clear, the legitimacy of vote counting is driving considerable suspicions among Donald Trump voters.
Joe Biden has become the first Democrat to take the state in the last 20 years. Since the ex-vice president won with a razor-thin margin, Georgia's election authorities held additional hand and machine recounts of votes. However, they fell short of conducting a signature verification of ballots which, according to the president's defence team, made the whole procedure meaningless and did not dispel any doubts with regard to apparent election irregularities and potential voter fraud in the state.
"The recount being done in Georgia will tell us nothing because these fraudulent ballots will just be counted again because they wouldn’t provide the signatures to match the ballots", Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani told a press conference on 19 November.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and four GOP state lawmakers have called for a special session of the state legislature, citing growing piles of evidence alleging election fraud. Nevertheless, the state's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, rejected the call last week, while Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, denied any voter fraud took place and vowed to recertify the results of the state's presidential election in Biden's favour.
"I believe that the Deep State and their media allies, plus the so-called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), will coalesce to ensure that no meaningful recount of the presidential vote will occur, despite massive circumstantial evidence suggesting significant fraud in battleground states", remarks Dankof.
Amid the emerging partisan split in Georgia, Donald Trump made it clear during the Saturday rally that he would like to see Republican Rep. Doug Collins as a potential 2022 gubernatorial candidate. "Doug, you want to run for governor in two years?" Trump asked. "He’d be a good-looking governor."
While a number of legal cases over the alleged violations of the election code and potential fraud are still pending in Georgia, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox Business on 6 December that Donald Trump's election concerns should be examined in court before the winner of the 2020 presidential race is announced. "These election issues, we’ll see who is in what seats and whether there is a Biden administration", he said, outlining the most striking cases of suspected election irregularities. Meanwhile, a video has emerged purportedly showing ballots being counted without supervision in Atlanta, Georgia.
However, the sands of time are running out for Team Trump: the deadline for resolving election disputes will expire on 8 December, while on 14 December electors are due to meet in each state to cast their ballots for president and vice president. Still, The Epoch Times alleges that the current Electoral College deadlines have "zero constitutional basis", citing the recent study by the Amistad Project of the nonpartisan Thomas More Society, an election integrity watchdog.
While discussing the case of Georgia, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Fox News on 6 December that the Supreme Court could make a formal judgement on whether state legislators have the power to choose alternate Electoral College electors: "That is a constitutional question we don’t know the answer to, and the Supreme Court may get to decide that question if a state legislature decides to determine who the electors should be, and changes the electors from Biden to Trump", he emphasised.