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Georgians Vote To Decide Balance Of Power In Senate

election jan05 lt

Georgians go to the polls Tuesday for two runoff elections to the Senate to decide which party controls the more powerful Upper House of the U.S. Congress.

Republicans lead 50-48 in the Senate, and unless Democrats manage to win both seats, the GOP will maintain control, making it difficult for incoming President Joe Biden to push through his agenda.

But if Democrat candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock emerge victorious, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris, as the head of the Senate, will be able to cast her tie-breaking vote once she takes office alongside Biden on January 20.

In a speech at a drive-in rally in Atlanta on the eve of the election, Biden said the whole nation is looking to the people of Georgia to lead the country forward.

"The power is literally in your hands," Biden said. "One state can chart the course not just for the next four years but for a generation."

Calling on Georgians to vote in record numbers again, Biden said that by electing Ossoff and Warnock, "you can make an immediate difference in your own lives and the lives of people all across this country."

"Because their election will put an end to the block in Washington on the $2,000 in stimulus checks. If you send Senators Perdue and Loeffler back to Washington, those checks will never get there," he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's opposition to a bill to increase direct payments in the coronavirus relief package to $2,000.

The Democrat-controlled House had unanimously passed the bill earlier.

Biden made a veiled attack on Trump's last ditch efforts to cling to power by saying, "Politicians cannot assert, take, or seize power. Power has to be given, granted — by the American people."

In the November election to the Senate, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue were leading against their Democrat opponents, but since neither of them could reach the 50 percent required for an outright victory under Georgia's election rules, the fight was extended to a second round.

Nearly 40 percent of Georgia's registered voters have already cast their ballots, known as early voting. The rest have until 7 pm local time today to vote.

"Tomorrow is Election Day in Georgia and the stakes could not be higher. We're seeing how far some will go to retain power and threaten the fundamental principles of our democracy. But our democracy isn't about any individual, even a president—it's about you," former President Barack Obama tweeted on Election eve.

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