Georgia voters braved the winter chill and turned out en masse at polling stations Tuesday to vote in one of the most consequential and expensive elections in US history.
The eyes of the nation are trained on Georgia for two hugely impactful runoff races that will determine which party controls the Senate and whether incoming President-elect Joe Biden will have any congressional check against his left-leaning agenda.
More than 3 million voters cast their ballots early while hundreds of thousands of other Georgians were expected to turn out, and many of them did so at the crack of dawn in long lines at polling stations.
GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are squaring off against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in elections that will determine whether Biden will be able to push through tax hikes, the Green New Deal and another revamp of ObamaCare.
At an election eve rally in Dalton, Ga., President Trump implored Georgians to cast their ballots and warned that they would be at the mercy of Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who would become majority leader under Democratic control of the Senate.
“If these two [incumbents] don’t win, and if we don’t take the presidency, you have a country that will be run by Schumer, Pelosi and Biden,” Trump said.
“The people of Georgia will be at the mercy of the left-wing socialists, Communists, Marxists, and that’s where it’s going. You know we don’t like to use the word Communist,” he went on.
If Democrats win both seats, the body will be split 50-50, meaning Vice President Kamala Harris, as Senate president, will have the tie-breaking vote.
Lines were long but moving smoothly Tuesday with wait times of less than one minute, according to Peach State election officials.
Still, given the enormous turnout and huge volume of mail-in ballots, which cannot be counted until polls close at 7 p.m., the races may not be called for days.
The runoff races became among the most expensive in US history with Republican control of the upper chamber in the balance.
The four candidates, political parties, super PACs and outside groups have generated $486 million in campaign ads in the two-month leadup to Tuesday’s vote, according to Axios’ analysis of the spending totals compiled by Ad Impact.