Yesterday, Georgia held two runoff elections for its seats in the US Senate. Because of Georgia’s unique election laws, if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote then the top two vote-getters face in a runoff. Although Republican candidates got the most votes in both racess, none got a majority and so a runoff was held yesterday.
In the November elections, Democrats maintained their majority in the House (although with less seats) and Joe Biden will become President. Which party controls the Senate was still undecided until the Georgia elections. Republicans simply had to win one of the two to maintain a majority, and since both incumbents were Republican and Republican candidates got the most votes in November, they were favored.
But Democrats did not count on Donald Trump, who turned out to be their biggest asset. For the last two months, Trump has complained about the election being rigged and ‘stolen’. And he has focused his anger on Georgia, even though every statewide office in Georgia is held by a Republican and the Secretary of State, who runs the elections, was personally endorsed by Trump. This had the effect of suppressing Republican turnout.
Republican voters repeatedly asked at rallies why they should vote if elections were rigged. Trump himself, the two times that he went to Georgia to help the Senate candidates campaign, spent more time talking about the ‘rigged’ elections against him than he did talking about the Senate races.
And indeed, two Trump surrogates, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, both went to Georgia and literally told Republican voters not to vote until the November elections were overturned.
Some voters listened.
Last night while votes were still being counted, former Republican National Committee Chairperson Michael Steele made the comment that Republicans should have easily won elections for both seats. “This should not be close. This should not be a conversation for us at this point.” Making his comments about 10 PM Eastern Time while being interviewed, Steele went on “We should be going for beers right about now because the evening would have been over. And the reality of it is, it’s not, because of what this president has done to the Republican Party.”
At the end of the night, Democrats won both seats by less than 1% and now will have majorities in both the House and the Senate, as well as holding the presidency.
Georgia has been a traditionally Republican state and every statewide office was held by a Republican until yesterday. Donald J. Trump was probably the only one that could change that, and he did.
One Republican strategist and a Republican appointee as Election Manager, were both asked the reason for Republican losses and gave the same answer “Donald J. Trump”.
Trump delivered Georgia, and the US Senate, to Democrats and so ensured their complete control of the Federal government for at least two years. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should probably be sending a gift basket.