Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia has to quarantine days before the all-important runoff race for his seat

David Perdue
  • The Republican Senator David Perdue has been forced to go into quarantine after coming into contact with a person who has COVID-19, his campaign said.
  • Perdue will have to step back from the closely fought race against Democrat Jon Ossoff, only days from the election on January 5.
  • The Georgia contest outcome where Sen.Kelly Loeffler will also face off against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock will decide which party controls the Senate.
  • If Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock both win, Democrats will control the legislative and executive branches, allowing for Joe Biden to more easily accomplish his legislative goals.
  • A newly released poll from JMC Analytics and Polling found Warnock and Ossoff leading over Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue as early votes are cast.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Georgia’s Republican Senator David Perdue has been forced to go into quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, his campaign has said.

The senator will have to step back from the all-important election battle, just days from the election on Tuesday, January 5.

On behalf of the 71-year-old his campaign said, in a statement issued on Thursday: “This morning, Senator Perdue was notified that he came into close contact with someone on the campaign who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Both Senator Perdue and his wife tested negative today, but following his doctor’s recommendations and in accordance with CDC guidelines, they will quarantine. The Senator and his wife have been tested regularly throughout the campaign, and the team will continue to follow CDC guidelines.”

The announcement came 30 minutes before Perdue was due to speak at a campaign event in Gainsville, alongside Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, CNN reported.

Battle for control of the Senate

The outcome of the Georgia contest where Sen.Kelly Loeffler will also faceoff against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock will decide which party controls the Senate.

If Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock both win, Democrats will control the legislative and executive branches, allowing for Joe Biden to more easily accomplish his legislative goals.

On Wednesday, Insider reported that a newly released runoff poll found that the Democratic candidates were widening their leads.

The JMC poll, conducted with 500 respondents on Monday and Tuesday, found Ossoff ahead of Perdue 50% to 43%, or 7 points, with 7% of respondents saying they were undecided.

The divide between Warnock and Loeffler in the poll was even larger: Warnock was ahead 53% to 44%, or 9 points, with 3% of respondents saying they were undecided.

JMC is one of just a handful of pollsters participating in the Senate runoffs – many of the most recognized and reputable pollsters have not conducted any polls since the general election in November.

A recent survey conducted by SurveyUSA found Ossoff with a 5-percentage-point lead and Warnock with a 7-point lead. And according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling tracker, the margin of support has steadily increased for the Democratic candidates in polls conducted since the general election on November 3.

Nick Gourevitch, a Democratic pollster with Global Strategy Group, recently told Politico that trusting the accuracy of polls in Georgia following the tumultuous presidential polling would be a mistake.

 

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Newly-released Georgia Senate runoff polls show Democratic candidates with a widening lead

Rev Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff meet in a georgia senate runoff rally
Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock greet each other onstage during the “Vote GA Blue” concert for Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff at New Birth Church on December 28, 2020.

  • The two Georgia Senate runoff elections will decide whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate. If Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock both win, Democrats will control the legislative and executive branches, allowing for President-elect Joe Biden to accomplish his legislative goals with greater ease.
  • According to newly-released polls from JMC Analytics and Polling, Warnock and Perdue have grown their projected leads wider than ever before as early votes continue to be cast.
  • JMC is one of just a handful of pollsters participating in the Senate runoffs — many of the most-recognized and most-reputable pollsters have not conducted any polls since the general election in November.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock have widened their projected leads against incumbent Republican candidates Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, according to a newly-released poll from JMC Analytics and Polling

The JMC polls, conducted between December 28-29, show Ossoff ahead of Perdue in a 50-43 percentage point margin – 7% of respondents were undecided. The divide between Warnock and Loeffler in the poll is even larger with Warnock ahead in a 53-44 percentage point margin with just 3% of respondents undecided. 

When asked how and when the survey takers would vote, 91% of respondents noted that they had already voted or planned to vote early in-person or by mail. Just 7% of respondents said they planned to vote on election day. 

In November, about 20% of the state’s votes were cast on election day. If JMC’s polling is correct, Loeffler and Perdue will need to receive far more of Georgia’s 2.6 million early votes than expected.

The two elections will have a direct impact on the beginning of President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency: If Ossoff and Warnock succeed in their respective races, the Democratic party will have control of the entirety of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government and would allow Biden to accomplish his legislative goals with greater ease.

But while JMC’s polling is a good sign for Democrats, it is one of only a handful of pollsters which have participated in the Georgia Senate runoffs.

The 2020 presidential election was home to hundreds of polls throughout the country – some of which were grossly off, leading to backlash.

Nick Gourevitch, a Democratic pollster with Global Strategy Group, told Politico that expecting trust in the Georgia polls following the tumultuous presidential polling results would be a mistake.

“Everybody fundamentally understands that it’s going to become an issue of partisan turnout,” Gourevitch said. “And anybody who tells you they know exactly what’s going to happen in terms of partisan turnout in a special election with two senators to decide control of the Senate in a post-Trump era when he’s not on the [ballot] – nobody knows the answer to that question. It’s a completely unique situation.”

Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief and founder of FiveThirtyEight, thinks the answer is even simpler: “I think pollsters are being chicken,” he said on FiveThirtyEight podcast on Tuesday.

Following the general election, FiveThirtyEight has tracked just 20 polls, many of which come from smaller, less experienced polling groups.

“You are not polling,” Silver said in reference to many of the large university-aligned pollsters, “because you are scared of being wrong… Pollsters don’t want to put their necks on the line because we live in a world where people are not very rational about probabilities and uncertainty.” 

President Trump’s recent defiance of the GOP is not helping Republican candidates.

Trump Georgia rally
President Donald Trump headlined a campaign rally in Valdosta, Ga., for Sens. David Perdue, left, and Kelly Loeffler, right.

Trump, for his part, has put Loeffler and Perdue in difficult political positions throughout their respective Senate runoff campaigns.

While Loeffler and Perdue have both ran as unwavering allies of Trump, with the president traveling to the state to headline a December 5 rally on their behalf, he mostly used the event to air grievances about his own election, repeatedly making debunked claims of voter fraud and falsely stating that he won the state over Biden.

Trump has repeatedly jousted with top Georgia Republicans from Gov. Brian Kemp to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, creating a sense of political disunity, which party members can ill afford if they are to win both races against well-funded Democratic challengers who have strong support from Biden and the party base.

The president’s consistent pressure campaign against the statewide election results drove Loeffler and Perdue to call for Raffensperger’s resignation last month, which the secretary of state firmly rejected.

When the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed both houses of Congress, it included $600 direct stimulus checks, which Trump said was too low. Warnock and Ossoff have both been pressing for increased direct aid for months, and it has emerged as a major campaign issue in both Senate races.

Before Trump’s push for increased direct aid, Loeffler and Perdue touted their support for the compromise relief bill. However, with the president calling the $600 figure a “disgrace,” Loeffler quickly backed his proposal for $2,000 stimulus checks on December 29, followed by Perdue on the same day. 

Previously, Loeffler had been on the fence about increased stimulus payments, while Perdue has generally opposed stimulus checks, which Ossoff has highlighted in his campaign.

Despite Trump not actually being on the ballot, his legacy is at stake. Loeffler and Perdue still have to closely align themselves with the president to win or risk turning off his most ardent supporters.

With control of the Senate on the line and Democrats in a solid position to capture both seats, Loeffler and Perdue have to increase turnout on their side or a blue wave will give Biden the unified government that he needs to enact his agenda.

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Jon Ossoff has raised more money than any Senate candidate in US history in heated Georgia runoff election

Warnock and Ossoff
FILE: Democratic candidate for Senate Jon Ossoff, right, and Democratic candidate for Senate Raphael G Warnock, left, arrive before they speak to a crowd during a “Get Out the Early Vote” event at the SluttyVegan ATL restaurant on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Jonesboro, Ga.

  • John Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat vying to oust the incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue, has become the highest-funded candidate for Senate in US history, The New York Times first reported.
  • According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Ossoff raised $106.7 million between October 15 and December 16.
  • Also in Georgia, Reverend Raphael Warnock, the Democrat seeking to replace the Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, raised $103.3 million during the same time, according to the data. 
  • The Georgia runoff election, triggered with none of the candidates in either race received enough votes to win, has garnered national attention because the victors determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat embattled in the heated runoff race against Republican Sen. David Perdue, the incumbent, has become the highest-funded senatorial candidate of all time, The New York Times first reported Friday.

The news comes following the release of the latest round of fundraising data from the Federal Elections Commission, covering the period between October 15 and December 16. During that period, Ossoff raised $106.7 million. Perdue raised $68 million during the same period, according to the FEC data.

Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is also embattled in a heated Georgia runoff race against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler raised $103.3 million during the same period, according to the data. Loeffler raised approximately $64 million during the fundraising period, according to the FEC.

In both races during the general election, neither candidate received enough of the vote to be declared the winner, triggering a runoff election scheduled for January 5. The Georgia runoff races have captured nationwide attention because the winner of the races determines which party will control the US Senate.

If Ossoff and Warnock win both of their races, the Senate majority will be split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. But, if either Perdue or Loeffler wins, the GOP will continue to hold the power in the Senate, creating a roadblock for the Democrat-controlled House and president-elect Joe Biden, also a Democrat.

Biden flipped the state of Georgia blue during the general election, which was one of the states that proved key to his victory over President Donald Trump.  

Nearly half of the donations to Warnock and Ossoff were under $200, The New York Times noted. Just about 30% of donations to Perdue and Loeffler were from small donors, according to the data.

Both Ossoff and Warnock’s fundraising during the quarter surpassed the previous record broken by Jaime Harrison, who raised $57 million in a single quarter in his failed campaign against South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. 

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More than 100 pastors call on Loeffler to stop spreading ‘reprehensible falsehoods’ about Warnock, denouncing them as ‘an attack against the Black Church’

kelly raphael georgia senate runoffs debate
GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock appear during a debate on December 6, 2020, in Atlanta.

  • A group of over 100 pastors criticized the campaign strategy of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, calling her out for political attacks against Democrat Raphael Warnock which they feel have devolved into “a broader attack against the Black Church.”
  • “We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist,’ when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context,” they wrote in an open letter, which was released on Saturday.
  • In a year where racial and social justice have been at the forefront of the national debate, especially among many Black parishioners, the pastors slammed Loeffler for criticizing Warnock as he addressed those very same issues.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A group of over 100 pastors blasted the campaign strategy of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, calling her out on Saturday for political attacks against her Democratic opponent, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, which they feel have devolved into “a broader attack against the Black Church.”

In an open letter, signed mostly by Black clergy leaders local to Georgia while some live out of state, the group criticized the Loeffler campaign’s fervent depiction of Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, as a “radical” and “a socialist.”

The New York Times first reported the release of the letter.

“We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist,’ when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context,” they wrote.

In a year where racial and social justice have been at the forefront of the national debate, especially after the May 25 death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis, the pastors slammed Loeffler for criticizing Warnock as he addressed those very same issues.

“Your most recent attacks against Warnock for sermons condemning police brutality, advocating criminal justice reform, and expressing support for measures to reduce gun-violence – all concerns of his congregation – are beyond the pale and cannot go unaddressed by members of the faith community,” they wrote. “The reprehensible falsehoods must stop!”

The pastors accused Loeffler of failing to address issues of racial justice, which are highly resonant among Black voters, saying that she showed “disdain for Black elected officials and Black Lives Matter marches against systemic racism.”

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Jared Kushner helped create a Trump campaign shell company that secretly paid the president’s family members and spent $617 million in reelection cash, a source tells Insider

The pastors also called out Loeffler for decrying religious-based attacks against Amy Coney Barrett during the conservative jurist’s Supreme Court nomination process while employing what they feel are religious-based attacks against Warnock.

“We witnessed how Conservatives uproariously cried foul when anyone asked how Amy Coney Barrett’s faith might affect her rulings as she was under consideration for the high court,” they wrote. “We remember your tweet characterizing those perceived attacks against Barrett as ‘disgusting’ but now you characterize Warnock’s religious convictions as ‘despicable, disgusting, and wrong.’ You continue to parse and take out of context decades old utterances by Warnock from the pulpit.”

On Sunday, Warnock responded to content of the letter on Twitter.

“My faith is the foundation upon which I have built my life,” he wrote. “It guides my service to my community and my country. [Loeffler’s] attacks on our faith are not just disappointing – they are hurtful to Black churches across Georgia.”

On Sunday, Loeffler responded to Warnock on Twitter, writing that “no one attacked the Black church.”

“We simply exposed your record in your own words,” she added. “Instead of playing the victim, start answering simple questions about what you’ve said and who you’ve associated yourself with. If you can’t – you shouldn’t be running for U.S. Senate.”

 

In the letter, the pastors also pivoted to Black voting rights, saying that Loeffler’s endorsement of President Donald Trump’s continued legal action against the 2020 election results is an affront to Black voters.

“We witnessed your naked hypocrisy as you supported 59 attempts at the delegitimization of Black votes with meaningless lawsuits by the Trump campaign operatives,” they wrote. “What can be more radical, more seditious than supporting 59 attempts to overthrow the will of the people by tossing Black votes?”

Loeffler and Warnock are locked in a tight January 2021 runoff election in Georgia, which will determine control of the Senate and take place just weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

A separate runoff election, also set for January 5, will feature a contest between GOP Sen. David Perdue, who is running for reelection to a second term, and his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff.

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley dubs Georgia GOP Sens. Loeffler and Perdue ‘the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption’

ayanna pressley
Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks at a program voicing support for those protesting against police brutality against Black Americans in Boston on June 2, 2020.

  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Friday called Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue “the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”
  • The Massachusetts Democrat made the comments during an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid about turning out voters for the January 2021 runoff elections in the Peach State.
  • “Georgia, do your thing,” she said. “I know we’re asking a lot of Georgia … Do what you do. All eyes are on Georgia.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Friday slammed Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, calling them “the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” with host Joy Reid, the Massachusetts Democrat spoke about turning out voters for the January 2021 runoff elections in the state, which will determine control of the US Senate.

“Georgia, do your thing,” she said. “I know we’re asking a lot of Georgia. But do your thing, Georgia. Do what you do. All eyes are on Georgia. [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell [of Kentucky]…Loeffler, Perdue – they are the Bonnie and Clyde of corruption.”

She added: “They are all the same. We need to regain control of the Senate. Georgia, do what you do.”

An analysis by The New York Times showed that Perdue sometimes made more than 20 stock transactions in one day, and he made nearly 2,600 trades during his first term in office. His financial transactions came under scrutiny this past year, with the Times reporting that “the Justice Department had investigated the senator for possible insider trading in his sale of more than $1 million worth of stock in a financial-analysis firm, Cardlytics.”

Though prosecutors ultimately did not file charges, questions lingered about stock trading among all senators and potential conflicts of interest.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department began an investigation into Loeffler after she sold millions of dollars’ worth of stock in January after a briefing about the coronavirus. No charges were filed in her case, and she has denied any wrongdoing, calling attacks against her “a political witch hunt by the fake news media.”

On December 15, President-elect Joe Biden visited Georgia to stump for the challengers to Loeffler and Perdue, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Loeffler, who is running in a special election to fill the remaining term of GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, and Perdue, who is running for reelection to a second term, both fell below the 50% threshold to win their races outright, which necessitated runoff elections.

The 2020 elections produced a 50-48 advantage for the Republicans, with the outstanding Georgia Senate races making the difference in McConnell keeping control of the chamber or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York becoming the new majority leader. If Democrats can win both seats, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be able to break tie votes, giving the party control of the Senate for the first time since 2015.

As of Friday morning, over 1.1 million voters had already cast ballots for the runoff elections, according to Reuters.

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McConnell included $600 checks in COVID-19 stimulus plans after hearing that GOP opposition could cost them the Georgia Senate runoffs, report says

Perdue Loeffler
A composite image of Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia on November 19, 2020.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came to back $600 COVID-19 stimulus checks after hearing that prior opposition was hurting them in Georgia, according to The New York Times.
  • Citing a private call, the Times said McConnel described said Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue  “getting hammered” on the issue.
  • The Georgia runoffs on January 5 will decide the balance of power in the Senate.
  • Checks of $1,200 were sent out earlier in the year, but had dropped off the radar in the latest negotiations until coming roaring back this week.
  • McConnell’s intervention helped put them back on the agenda, although Democrats are angered that this came at the apparent cost of one month of unemployment benefits.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to support $600 checks in COVID-19 stimulus negotiations was motivated by fears for the Georgia runoff elections, according to The New York Times.

Two sources told the paper McConnell’s U-turn on supporting the checks came after hearing that Republican opposition to more stimulus checks was hurting ongoing campaigns in Georgia.

Times sources said that McConnell warned fellow GOP lawmakers that Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are “getting hammered” over the checks.

In a private phone conversation Wednesday, McConnell said that backing another round of direct payments to Americans could help, the Times reported. 

The Georgia runoffs, to be held on January 5, will decide the balance of power in the Senate, determining how much of a free hand President-elect Joe Biden can expect when he takes office. 

McConnell has been the most stubborn force in the stimulus negotiations, consistently sticking to his slimmed-down proposal of around $500 billion.

Meanwhile, leading Democrats have whittled their initial $2.2 trillion demand down by at least half, accepting a $908 billion bipartisan proposal as a basis for negotiations.

That proposal kicked stimulus checks into the long grass. But on Wednesday, McConnell made a surprise pivot to supporting stimulus checks of around $600-700.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had introduced a White House proposal last week that included $600 checks, but it also made a massive cut to unemployment benefits, turning off Democrats.

As negotiations drag on, progressives such as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders have continued to make the case for $1,200 checks.

Democrats are also unhappy that the $600 checks proposal comes at the apparent cost of shrinking unemployment benefits by a month. 

The final shape of what both parties are likely to agree on is starting to emerge, with a price tag of around $900 billion. According to the Associate Press (AP), this could include:

  • $300 billion in support for businesses, in another round of PPP
  • $600 checks to all, and a further $300 to the long-term unemployed
  • Renewal of unemployment benefits
  • $25 billion to help renters struggling to make payments
  • $10 billion for the US Postal Service

Likely to be left by the wayside is around $160 billion to help state and local governments – a Democratic wish – and pandemic liability protections for businesses that the GOP has pushed for. 

Negotiations on the stimulus package are going down to the wire, with a deadline on Friday looming to avert a government shutdown. This could be extended. 

Negotiators had hoped to strike a deal after two in-person meetings on Wednesday, but left that night without a final agreement. 

“We’re still close and we’re going to get there,” said McConnell, as he left negotiations, according to the AP.

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If Democrats want to win in Georgia and seize the Senate, they need to go on the attack

Trump Georgia rally
President Donald Trump headlined a campaign rally in Valdosta, Ga., for Sens. David Perdue, left, and Kelly Loeffler, right.

  • Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are running for two Senate seats and control of the Senate hangs in the balance.
  • Down ballot Democrats struggled on Election Day because they went on the defensive. To win in Georgia and take back the Senate, Democrats need to go on the offensive and attack the GOP.
  • A great line of attack for Democrats in Georgia would be to pin the Republican candidates — Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — to the GOP’s biggest loser: Donald Trump.
  • Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite the hopes for a “Blue Wave,” Republicans surprised Democrats and many election analysts in November by holding onto 50 seats in the US Senate – just one seat away from retaining their majority. As usual, Democrats underestimated the Republican attack machine and the power of their false claims about Democratic socialism and defunding the police

But despite the strong GOP showing, there are two final Senate seats still up for grabs. The good people of Georgia have the chance to prevent Sen. Mitch McConnell from remaining majority leader and the grim reaper of progress. 

In the two runoffs that will decide control of the Senate, the Democratic candidates face historically long odds. Both contests are tight, and both Democratic candidates began their races as the underdog. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Democrats need to leave it all on the field. 

The GOP has overperformed by keeping the Democrats on defense. In order to pull off their own Senate surprise, Democrats must flip the field and go on offense. 

Tie ’em to Trump

In November, the Georgia electorate joined a chorus of battleground victories in rejecting Trumpism. The statewide win for President-elect Joe Biden shows a path forward for Democrats. They should put the GOP’s biggest loser back on the ballot in the Peach State in order to secure a win in January. 

Even after President Donald Trump’s loss, Senate Republicans have shown that there is no daylight between themselves and the outgoing commander. Their latest hits include shrugging their shoulders when the president fired officials who defied him and hiding when he alleged voter fraud with no substantive evidence. 

In recent weeks, GOP senators have reached alarming levels of brazenness. Their bullying of Georgia election officials failed to strip power from Georgia voters but succeeded in showing the GOP’s disregard for law and the democratic process. 

Equally alarming has been Senate Republicans’ failure to denounce violent threats against election officials – and the dangerous rhetoric from the president and his team that incited these threats. Their tacit approval of violence has put the safety of Georgians – including many Republicans – at risk

Even Attorney General Bill Barr and the US Supreme Court have stood up to Trump on his election charade, but the Senate GOP is a profile in cowardice, not courage.

A vote against dysfunction

For their parts, Georgia’s GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have made no moves to jump off the Trump train. In fact, they’ve become first class passengers. The pair have been loyal battleground soldiers in Trump’s futile election fight. 

They have attacked honorable Georgia Republicans doing their jobs – or stood silently while the President came after GOP allies. They sided with a lawsuit against their state that the Republican Attorney General had strongly condemned. They fan the flames of chaos as tensions and threats increase in their state.

As Loeffler and Perdue continue to stand with the President and refuse to acknowledge his defeat, it’s clear who’s really on the ballot in these runoffs.

They have tied themselves inextricably to Trump and have made it clear that a vote for them is a vote for all things Trump: his failure on the pandemic, his tanking of the economy, and his all-out assault on the will of Georgia’s electorate.

Votes for Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are votes for progress and against the dysfunction in Washington that McConnell and company will surely bring. They also will be votes against the lame duck who is departing January 20. 

The alternative is gridlock and partisanship that will benefit no one other than our nation’s enemies. Democrats should label Senate Republicans as the Trump puppets they are and drive home that unless they are defanged, they will smear President-elect Joe Biden’s term with a bright orange stain. 

It’s time for Democrats to make the election – and the country – about the collective GOP failure of the past four years. Everything the national majority voted for in November depends on it. 

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‘Numbers come out of ceilings and come out of leather bags’: Trump assails vote integrity in Georgia using debunked claims of fraud

Trump Georgia rally
President Donald Trump headlined a campaign rally in Valdosta, Ga., for Sens. David Perdue, left, and Kelly Loeffler, right.

  • At a rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on Saturday, President Donald Trump assailed the state’s vote integrity, using debunked claims of fraud to accuse officials of allowing vote counts to be compromised.
  • “You know we won Georgia, just so you understand,” Trump said to the jubilant crowd, despite his clear statewide loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Throughout the night, the president continued to echo debunked claims of voting fraud.
  • “All I can do is campaign and then I wait for the numbers,” he added. “When the numbers come out of ceilings and come out of leather bags, you start to say, ‘What’s going on?'”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At a boisterous rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on Saturday, President Donald Trump assailed the state’s vote integrity, using debunked claims of fraud to accuse officials of allowing vote counts to be compromised, while simultaneously imploring Republicans to come out to support GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the January 2021 Senate runoffs.

The duality of the proposition made Trump’s plea even more incredulous.

Trump started out his speech claiming victory in Georgia, a false statement that belies President-elect Joe Biden’s nearly 13,000-vote win and the November 20 certification of the Democratic statewide victory.

“You know we won Georgia, just so you understand,” Trump said to the jubilant crowd.

Trump quickly shifted to his unfounded claims of coordinated voter fraud, which have been rejected by everyone from local voting officials to GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“We’re fighting very hard for this state, when you look at all of the corruption and all of the problems that have to do with this election,” Trump said.

The president then brought up a false claim about ballot-stuffed suitcases that were included in the vote tally. According to the Associated Press, “surveillance footage of ballot processing on election night in Atlanta is fueling a false social media narrative of ‘suitcases filled with ballots’ hidden under a cloth-covered table and tallied without supervision, even as top state officials confirm election workers followed standard procedure.”

Georgia officials have said that state investigators watched the entirety of the hours-long surveillance footage and determined that it showed “normal ballot processing” and no wrongdoing or irregularities.

Trump tweeted the aforementioned video and played the footage during the Saturday night rally, showing ballot containers on wheels being used by election workers, which is not an uncommon practice. Yet, the president insisted on pushing fraud theories despite election officials insisting that there were no irregularities.

“All I can do is campaign and then I wait for the numbers,” he added. “When the numbers come out of ceilings and come out of leather bags, you start to say, ‘What’s going on?'”

Trump has been dealt a litany of election-related court losses in swing states across the country over the past month, including Georgia.

Despite the president’s last-ditch plea to GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special legislative session that would appoint Trump-backed electors and his relentless attacks against voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems, he still urged voters to support Loeffler and Perdue next month.

“I want to stay on presidential,” Trump said early in his speech. “But I got to get to these two.”

Trump lauded the GOP senators for advancing his agenda, including COVID-19 relief spending earlier this year. But his sense of grievance was never too far away.

“Let them steal Georgia again, you’ll never be able to look yourself in the mirror,” Trump said to the rallygoers.

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A liberal PAC is running ads that call Republican Sens. Loeffler and Perdue ‘the Grinches of Georgia’

Perdue Loeffler
US Sens. Davi Perdue and Kelly Loeffler speaks to the crowd of supporters during a “Defend the Majority” rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agriculture Center on November 19, 2020.

  • A liberal Political Action Committee in Georgia is running an advertisement in Georgia that compare Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to the Grinch.
  • Both Perdue and Loeffler are in the middle of a heated runoff campaign between their two Democratic challengers,  Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
  • The ad hones in on allegations that both Perdue and Loeffler made stock trades based on information they received as lawmakers about the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
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A left-leaning Political Action Committee is targeting Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in a new television commercial that compares both GOP lawmakers to the Grinch. 

Both Loeffler and Perdue are embattled in heated special elections, triggered when neither they nor their Democratic challengers, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectictively, secured enough votes to be declared a clear winner in their races. 

The PAC behind the ad, MeidasTouch, said in a tweet that the ad will air “multiple times” during the Sunday night debate between Warnock and Loeffler. The tweet also sought donations to help support the PAC run the advertisement.

“Their stockings were stuffed from the stocks that they sold when they heard COVID was coming before we were told,” the ad says. “They sold shares in casinos, airlines, T.J. Maxx and invested in drugs and in medical masks.”

As The Hill noted, both Loeffler and Perdue had been accused earlier this year of making changes to their investment portfolios based on information about the coronavirus some lawmakers received during a Senate members-only intel meeting. 

 

Loeffler has denied any wrongdoing and a Perdue has said that he didn’t attend the intel meeting, as The Hill noted.  According to The Washington Post, Loeffler said her controversial trades were made by an investment company and Perdue said his trades were made by an independent adviser, according to The Washington Post.

While Perdue and Loeffler weren’t the only senators to come under scrutiny for their investments, their activities have drawn continued scrutiny as part of their contentious ongoing runoff races, as The Washington Post noted. The Justice Department has closed its investigations into both Perdue and Loeffler’s coronavirus-related stock trades, according to The Post report.

If the Democrats win both run-off races in Georgia, the Senate majority will be split between Democrats and Republicans 50-50. But, if Republicans win just one of the two races in the state, the GOP will continue to hold the power in the Senate, creating a significant roadblock for the Democrat-controlled House and president-elect Joe Biden, also a Democrat.

Biden unexpectedly beat President Donald Trump in the state of Georgia, though Trump, who has not accepted the results, reportedly called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Saturday morning in another longshot attempt to overturn the election results.

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