In both Georgia Senate races on the November 3 ballot, no candidate received 50% of the vote, which forced a runoff as mandated under Georgia state law. Now, Republican incumbent and Trump stooge Sen. Kelly Loeffler is up against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock. The other Republican incumbent/Trump stooge Sen. David Perdue is again duking it out with the much thirsted after Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Here's the latest on what's happening in what's become "the center of the political universe":
Ossoff and Warnock's campaigns have returned to in-person door knocking: This change comes after both campaigns suspended the strategy due to the pandemic. Both Ossoff and Warnock's spokespersons said the campaigns made the decision in "close consultation with public health experts and an epidemiologist." Door knockers will wear masks, stand six feet back from doors after knocking, use hand sanitizer, and confirm they are asymptomatic before canvassing.
$268 million has already been spent in the runoffs: Both Loeffler and Perdue have benefitted the most, with their campaigns and outside supporters bringing in around $163 million worth of ads, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ossoff and Warnock are a little further behind, with a combined total of about $105 million.
Former Republican rivals Rep. Doug Collins and Loeffler have united in idiocy: Collins—who ran against Loeffler in the crowded Senate race this year—made his first Loeffler campaign trail appearance this weekend at a gun range (no duh). In a speech, Collins said about Warnock that "there is no such thing as a pro-choice pastor. What you have is a lie from the bed of hell. It is time to send it back to Ebenezer Baptist Church." As Jezebel pointed out, who is the "it" Collins is referring to?!?
Warnock preemptively responded to the GOP's smear campaign: This ad he dropped on Tuesday is probably as close as the reverend will come to saying "dogshit."
The Georgia Senate runoff elections are a breeding ground of potential 2024 hopefuls: Florida Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, and Vice President Mike Pence have all stopped by Georgia in recent weeks for some easy political coverage. None of these men have officially announced their intentions to run in 2024 or explore the possibility of running, but are among the vaunted class of GOPers eyeing the White House. They must be wary of looking too keen lest Trump decides to run again.
Perdue's investment strategies continue to come under fire: Last week, The Associated Press looked into Perdue's trades around Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based fintech company where he used to serve on the board of directors. Perdue sold off some of his Cardlytics stock at $86 a share just before it plunged in January as word got out about the potential economic damage of COVID-19. He then bought back that stock at $30 a share in March following an "unexpected leadership shakeup." That stock has quadrupled in value, closing at $121 a share last Tuesday. The New York Times reports that these trades prompted the Justice Department to look into the matter this summer, but no charges were made. Here's where AP landed:
There is no evidence that Perdue, who is among the wealthier members of the Senate, acted on information gained as a member of Congress or through his long-standing relationship with company officials. It's illegal to use nonpublic information gained as a company insider or member of Congress to make investment decisions.
But legal experts say the timing of his sale, the fact that he quickly bought Cardlytics stock back when it had lost two-thirds of its market value and his close ties to company officials all warrant scrutiny.
Trump officially announced his plans to come and stump for the GOP in Georgia: He'll mosey on down to the Peach State on Saturday, December 5. In a Thanksgiving video teleconference call, Trump said he'd love to host a rally in a stadium, "But you can't, because of COVID." He also called Georgia's Republican secretary of state Brad Raffensperger an "enemy of the people." Just normal presidential things!
This comes after his supporters were considering boycotting the runoff: Trump's demonization of Georgia's electoral system has caused some of the MAGA 4 Lifers to turn on both Loeffler and Perdue. Not only because the two Republicans are "insufficiently pro-Trump," but they also believe Loeffler and Perdue may be complicit in the rot of Georgia's electoral system. It's not only the run-of-the-mill GOP wackadoos peddling this theory, but also Sidney Powell, a lawyer who helped briefly lead Trump's push to overturn the election.
Trump and his surrogates have urged their followers to disregard this nonsense: But as Politico points out, the dissonance between the Republican party and Trump's base might grow even wider as he exits the White House. When Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel visited Georgia last week, the audience peppered her with questions about the runoff's legitimacy. One attendee even asked, "Why should we vote in this election when we know it's already decided?" Trump has seriously unglued the fabric of reality in the Republican party.
Here is video from one of the exchanges. A supporter asks why the RNC is not looking into the allegations with the voting machines. McDaniel stated flatly there is no evidence of that.
Then someone asks why they should vote in this election when it’s “already decided”. pic.twitter.com/gzDXB7OfEK
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) November 28, 2020
Now, Donald Trump, Jr.'s advisers have launched a super PAC in the state: Save the U.S. Senate PAC will start airing commercials featuring Donny Jr. this week. The PAC intends to only feature the ads on conservative radio and TV stations, to reach Trump's more loyal supporters. The group's founders hope these spots will help quash any lingering conspiracies about Loeffler and Perdue that could prevent the GOP base from turning out to vote.
After Perdue mocked Ossoff for visiting the Black-owned Atlanta restaurant Slutty Vegan, Ossoff came back swinging with a new TV ad: Which features Marilyn Crimes, a rural restauranteur who condemns Perdue's handling of the pandemic. “Instead of him being concerned about us, he’s off selling stocks. We had no idea we’d have to close our businesses off, lose caterings, and so many people died,” she said. “And then when we needed help the most, he fought against the stimulus checks and cut unemployment insurance.”