Entering last week, Georgia was the center of attention for the people of the United States, waiting for the Senate Runoff Elections to take place. While not being the focus of the news this past week, the Georgia Runoff will have a lasting impact on the political scene in the United States. This year, the Senate race in Georgia had to be decided in January rather than in November because of a runoff system in Georgia. In this system, a candidate must receive at least 50% of the votes to win the race. This year, however, none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes, causing a runoff election to be needed. In this situation, the two candidates who received the most votes in the general election on November 3 will be voted on again.
This year, there was the regular election and then a special election to fill the seat of retired Senator Johnny Isakson. On Election Night, Republican Senator David Perdue received 49.89% of the votes in the regular election, while his opponent, Democrat Jon Ossoff, received 47.8% of the votes. Likewise, the special election did not have a candidate receive 50% of the votes, so the two-vote leaders, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock proceeded to face off head to head in a second runoff. The importance of these elections grew as the other seats in the Senate were filled. Before declaring the two winners in Georgia, there were 50 Republican Senators and 48 Democrat Senators, causing the race in Georgia to be a crucial win for both the Democrats and Republicans. This past Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans both waited anxiously for the results to come in, with the Republicans hoping that at least one Republican candidate would win a seat and the Democrats hoping for both Democrat candidates to win.
In the regular election, Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue, receiving 50.6% of the votes. In the special election, the Democrats won their second seat in the Senate with Reverend Raphael Warnock defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, receiving 51% of the votes. With these results, the Senate now has an even 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans, which was the worst-case scenario for the Republicans. Now with the perfect split, all the ties will be broken by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. With the Democrats in control of the Senate, they have now gained complete political power in Washington, with the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency all being controlled by the Democrats. This scenario will allow President-Elect Joe Biden to accomplish a lot of his goals by avoiding gridlock between the two houses of Congress.
Now, what does this mean for the Republican party in Washington? They will be unable to keep Joe Biden and Congress from accomplishing their goals, because they do not control either house in Congress. While this may seem scary for Republicans, Democrats were in their same situation in 2016 when Donald Trump won the Presidency and the Republicans controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now, all the Republicans can do is campaign and try to regain control of the Senate or the House of Representatives in the next couple of years. While the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections were not the major headlines of the past week, the impact they will have on Washington and the country is substantial.