Summary List Placement Democrat Jon Ossoff will face Republican Sen. David Perdue for the US Senate election in Georgia this November. The candidates: Ossoff is an investigative journalist, business owner, and Georgia native. Before running for US Senate, he was the 2017 Democratic nominee for the high-profile special election in Georgia's 6th district, which he ultimately lost. Ossoff launched his US Senate campaign in September 2019, and cleared the competitive primary field to avoid a runoff for the on nomination June 9. Ossoff's campaign platform emphasizes expanding access to affordable healthcare and protecting Social Security, combatting climate change and investing in green infrastructure, and supporting small businesses. Perdue, a wealthy businessman and consultant who previously served as the CEO of Reebok athletics and Chairman and CEO of Dollar General, was first elected in 2014, and is now running for a second term. In Congress, Perdue serves on the Committees on Armed Services, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Budget, and Foreign Relations. While Perdue hasn't been as much of a firebrand as some other GOP Senators up for reelection this year, his official Senate website touts that he is an "early supporter of President Donald J. Trump and continues to be one of the President's closest allies in the U.S. Senate." He's voted in lockstep with Trump 95% of the time since 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight. The stakes: In addition to winning back the White House, regaining control of the US Senate for the first time since 2015 is a top priority for Democrats and would be a major accomplishment towards either delivering on a future president Joe Biden's policy goals or thwarting President Donald Trump's second-term agenda. Currently, the US Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats, winning that Democrats need to win back a net total of four seats to have a 51-seat majority (if Biden wins, his vice president would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote). And now, the US Senate is gearing up for a high-stakes confirmation battle to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at age 87 from pancreatic cancer on September 18. Within hours of her death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pledged that Trump's nominee for the high court would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate, and Trump said the day after that he would name a replacement "without delay." Ginsburg's death threw a stick of dynamite into an already supercharged election shaped by a deadly pandemic that has so far claimed over 200,000 American lives, and a national reckoning around race after several high-profile deaths of Black Americans in encounters with police. Trump and McConnell's posturing on the issue has excited conservatives enthusiastic about the possibility of Trump getting to appoint a third justice in his first term, but infuriated liberals who accused McConnell of blatant hypocrisy after he refused to hold confirmation proceedings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, citing the upcoming presidential election. Senate Republicans held the seat open long enough for Trump to appoint his choice, Justice Neil Gorsuch, to the seat. McConnell's quest to confirm a new justice before the end of Trump's first term puts the chamber on a collision course with the reelection hopes of many vulnerable Republican Senators, including Perdue.
In 60 seconds, GOP Sen. David Perdue from 2016 DESTROYS his own 2020 hypocrisy on Election Year SCOTUS confirmations. pic.twitter.com/zNxBKdGoAp — Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) September 21, 2020
While Georgia has been considered a safe Republican stronghold for decades, the tide in the state is shifting in Democrats' favor thanks to the fast-expanding Atlanta metro area. The counties surrounding Atlanta, including Cobb and Gwinnett counties, have been rapidly gaining population and trending towards Democrats in recent election cycles. And the confluence of Trump's unpopularity and the pandemic — which has hit Georgia hard — could make the state even more competitive than ever. Both the Biden and Trump campaigns are also investing big in Georgia, another indication of how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the electoral college map towards Democrats. Trump now leads Democratic nominee Joe Biden by just 1.3 points on average in polls of the state, according to FiveThirtyEight's polling averages. Georgia has two US Senate elections in 2020. In addition to the Ossoff-Purdue race, Sen. Kelly Loeffler is running for a full term in a jungle special election where candidates from both parties compete on the same ballot and the top two advance to a runoff. Loeffler was appointed to serve out the rest of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's term after Isakson resigned his seat due to health problems in December 2019. The money race: Ossoff has proven himself to be a talented fundraiser in this election and in his 2017 race, but is currently at a cash disadvantage against Perdue. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Perdue has raised $14 million and spent $3.8 million compared to $7 million raised and $4.3 million spent as of June 30. At that time, Ossoff had $2.5 million cash on hand as of June 30 compared to $10.6 million for Perdue. What the polling says: The most recent polls show a tight race between Perdue and Ossoff with many results within the margin of error. A poll of the race conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies from September 12 to 16 found Ossoff and Perdue tied among likely voters with 43% supporting each candidate. Another poll conducted by Fabrizio Ward and Hart Strategies for the AARP from August 30-September 5 found Ossoff leading Perdue by one point, 48% to 47%, among likely voters. What experts say: The Cook Political Report rates the race as a tossup, Inside Elections rates it tilts Republican, and Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics rate the race as leans Republican. According to FiveThirtyEight, Perdue has a 74% chance of defeating Ossoff in the November election and is expected to receive 51% of the popular vote.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How movie theaters are ruining your movie
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