Runoff elections with great significance: Biden campaigns in Georgia

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Runoff elections with great importance
Biden is campaigning in Georgia

The Democrats were able to win the US presidential election. In Georgia, a majority in the Senate will be decided in a few days. Much is at stake for President-elect Biden. He makes his way south to advertise for his party friends.

The elected US President Joe Biden is campaigning again: The 78-year-old Democrat plans to travel to the southern state of Georgia on Monday and support two party friends there in extremely important runoff elections for the US Senate. There is also a lot at stake for Biden himself: The runoff elections on January 5 will decide on the future majority in the powerful Congress Chamber in Washington – and thus on his scope for reforms.

Biden had won Georgia in the November 3 presidential election as the first Democratic presidential candidate in nearly three decades. This win was one of his keys to overall success. The elected President Donald Trump tried in vain to overturn the election result in the state and also fought with Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Republican electoral officials.

Georgia will hold two runoff elections: Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler wants to defend her mandate against her Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s party friend David Perdue wants to defend his Senate seat against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Polls are currently predicting close races. Since Monday, voters have been able to cast their votes in the so-called early voting in the run-up to the actual election date.

Democrats need one-two

The runoff elections are necessary because in the first round of elections on November 3, none of the candidates had reached the 50 percent threshold, as required by Georgia’s electoral law. It will decide on the last two Senate seats that have not yet been awarded – and thus on the future majority in the Congress Chamber. The Senate has 100 senators, two per state. So far, Trump’s Republicans had a majority of 53 to 47 senators. After the presidential and congressional elections on November 3, the Conservatives have 50 seats and the Democrats 48.

The Republicans only have to win one of the two runoff elections to continue to hold the Senate majority. The Democrats, on the other hand, have to win both runoff elections to get the same number of senators as the Conservatives. In this case they would have an advantage: In stalemate situations, the future Vice President Kamala Harris, who by virtue of her office is also Senate President, has the casting vote.

Biden’s Democrats have just barely defended their majority in the House of Representatives, but without a Senate majority that will only help them to a limited extent: both Congress chambers must pass major reform projects. That is why the majority in the Senate is so important.

Most expensive Senate election in US history

After taking office, Biden can rule by decree to a certain extent. For large government projects – such as new corona aid, a reform of the health system and more money for climate protection – he needs the support of Congress. Ministers and other key members of the government also need Senate approval.

Should the Republicans defend their Senate majority, Mitch McConnell would remain the majority leader. The 78-year-old is known for the merciless blockade policy with which he made government difficult for President Barack Obama.

Biden has been optimistic that he can negotiate compromises with McConnell, whom he knows well from his time as a senator. But he should be very happy if he doesn’t have to deal with the “Darth Vader” of the Senate – and therefore sincerely hope for victories of the Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia.

Because so much depends on the runoff elections, a lot of money is currently flowing to Georgia for the election campaign. It is estimated that it could be the most expensive Senate campaign in history. In addition, high-ranking politicians are traveling to the state: Like Biden, Trump also wants to advertise his candidates on-site on Monday.

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