Election 2020

Republicans Clinch 50 in Battle for the Senate, All Eyes Turn to Georgia

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

On Wednesday, one week after Election Day, Decision Desk, the Associated Press, and other outlets finally called Alaska for Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and President Donald Trump. Sullivan’s victory gives Republicans 50 seats in the U.S. Senate to Democrats’ 48 seats, with two races in Georgia headed to a runoff on January 5.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Sullivan led Democrat Al Gross by more than 50,000 votes — a lead of over 20 percent.

Democrats had their eyes on taking the U.S. Senate this cycle, but Republicans stopped them short. While President Donald Trump seems likely to have lost — the results are disputed but recounts are unlikely to erase some of Joe Biden’s leads in key swing states — he appears to have had strong coattails, leading Republicans to pick up seats in state legislatures and in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Two vulnerable Republicans — Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) — lost their seats to former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and astronaut Mark Kelly, respectively. Yet Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) also lost his race to Tommy Tuberville. Democrats only picked up one net seat.

If Biden wins the presidency — giving Democrats a tie-breaker with Vice President Kamala Harris as the president of the Senate — Republicans just need to hold on to one seat in Georgia’s runoff elections in order to hold the majority.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) faces a challenge from Rev. Raphael Warnock, while Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) attempts to stave off Jon Ossoff. The Democrats will likely struggle in the traditionally red state, but they are likely to attract a massive influx of cash as Democrats fight to erase Republicans’ Senate majority.

Democrats have alienated voters with radical policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, but they have also taken extreme stances in support of packing the U.S. Supreme Court and potentially adding states to the U.S., fundamentally shifting elections in the Democratic direction. Warnock and Ossoff have tried to steer toward the moderate side of the party, but the fact that Warnock served as assistant pastor at a church that hosted the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro may hamper his efforts to run to the middle.

Expect a nail-biter election in Georgia on January 5. While it seems unlikely both Warnock and Ossoff will win, Democrats will pour all they have into the race, in order to eke out the final vote in the Senate to pass Biden’s radical agenda.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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