Democrats seek Georgia House, Republicans play defense in Nov. 3 elections

Georgia lawmakers meet in the state House of Representatives chamber at the Capitol in Atlanta during the 2020 legislative session. (Photo by Beau Evans)

Will the balance of power shift in the Georgia state legislature following the highly anticipated general election on Nov. 3?

For the first time in nearly two decades, Georgia Democratic leaders believe they have a real shot at wresting control of the state House of Representatives, which has been in Republican hands since 2005.

But state and national Republicans are deploying millions of dollars into local races to keep that from happening, targeting Georgia as perhaps the only state where one of its most influential Democratic lawmakers in the House could be toppled.

“For Democrats to flip the House, they have to win what looks like virtually all of the marginal seats now,” said Charles Bullock, professor of political science at the University of Georgia.

According to Bullock, Democratic candidates flipped 13 seats in the House during the 2018 election that they are likely not in danger of losing next month, prompting Democrats to focus on 17 other seats that could be won in the 2020 general election.

For Democrats, the magic number to flip the House is 16 seats out of the body’s total of 180 seats, representing a cluster of suburban Atlanta districts plus some districts around many of the state’s other urban areas including Athens, Milledgeville, Albany, Columbus, Savannah, Warner Robins and Suwanee.

The Georgia Senate is likely not in play with only five seats potentially open for Democrats that would cut the Republican majority in that body down to a four-seat advantage, according to Bullock’s analysis.

But the Georgia House is the holy grail this year. A shift in the balance of power would not only inject more say for Democrats into the state’s legislative policies, but also giving the party a stronger bargaining hand in the upcoming process to redraw district boundaries next summer.

Based on each new census count every 10 years, the Georgia General Assembly rearranges state and congressional district borders to align with shifts in population. Whichever political party is in charge of that process could tweak the boundaries in their favor to capture potentially decisive voting blocs for the next decade, according to Bullock.

“If the people who draw the districts have good data and are careful with it, they could cast the die in terms of what a legislature’s partisanship looks like for a decade,” Bullock said in an interview last week.

With demographics shifting around urban areas across the state, the key for Democrats will be to sway suburban women voters who may have voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 but have had second thoughts since then, said Andra Gillespie, political science professor at Emory University.

At the same time, some Republicans holding vulnerable seats have begun shifting closer to the center in a bid to win more moderate voters who could turn the tide in a close election, Gillespie said. An example is Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, who sponsored bipartisan hate-crimes legislation in an election year that Georgia Democrats had long sought.

“The idea that they would then pick the low-hanging fruit of the hate-crimes bill which has stalled for years in the General Assembly, was the easy thing to do,” Gillespie said in an interview last week. “They’re trying to get a clear majority of the overall universe of voters in their district.”

Outside groups from both sides have pumped large dollars into contested legislative races, particularly for Republicans’ bid to unseat Georgia House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville, whose West Georgia district went to Trump in 2016 and Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a national group focused on state legislative contests, is poised to pump $1 million into the campaign of Trammell’s Republican competitor, emergency-medical helicopter pilot David Jenkins, marking a huge amount of money for one local race.

The strategy is twofold: By forcing Trammell to step back and focus on his own race, Democrats may have to spend more money on a single district than they anticipated and divert some attention from other competitive races elsewhere in the state, said RSLC President Austin Chambers.

“This is a great opportunity for us to take out the leader of their caucus,” Chambers said. “It just creates chaos on their side.”

Republicans also have the stout backing of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who as one of the party’s most influential leaders has leaned into the campaign season alongside other top Republican lawmakers at the state Capitol.

“Georgia Republicans aren’t taking anything or any vote for granted,” said Jen Ryan, a spokeswoman for the campaign efforts of Ralston and the House Majority Caucus.

Despite that confidence, Democrats aren’t sweating it. They are leaning on a party-affiliated organizing and fundraising initiative called the Legislative Victory Fund to splash millions of dollars into local legislative races across the state, including Trammell’s.

Tied to Fair Fight, the group founded by Democratic Party star and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, the Legislative Victory Fund has recruited and backed Democratic candidates in vulnerable Republican-held House districts from the campaign season’s start this year, said the fund’s organizing director, Patricia Lassiter.

“We are running a full-fledged, multi-faceted movement to show Georgia what needs to be done,” Lassiter said. “We know that once these candidates get into office, they’re going to change what Georgia looks like [and] leadership is going to actually represent Georgians.”

For his part, Trammell has swatted aside recent polls indicating he may be trailing in his race. He points to the big-money moves focused on his own district as evidence that Republicans are “holding on by their fingernails here.”

“They started pumping money into Georgia a few months ago because they know they’re in trouble,” Trammell said in a recent interview. “Voters in the district don’t want a vote that’s for sale. My vote is not for sale and will never be for sale.”

The general election is scheduled for Nov. 3. Early voting begins on Oct. 12.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in Georgia rally together in Atlanta area

Rev. Raphael Warnock (right) rallies with Jon Ossoff (left) at a joint campaign stop in DeKalb County in Georgia’s U.S. Senate races on Oct. 3, 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans)

Democratic U.S. Senate contenders in Georgia rallied Saturday to hand out yard signs and push for consolidating the state’s left-leaning voter population ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, both Democrats vying to unseat Republican senators this election cycle, linked arms in the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia Saturday morning in one of a burgeoning number of in-person campaign events being held by top Democratic candidates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has held mostly online video rallies and townhalls so far in his campaign against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Atlanta businesswoman who was appointed in December to hold the seat of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson until November.

But Saturday’s joint in-person appearance in Dekalb County by Warnock and Ossoff, the investigative journalist challenging U.S. Sen. David Perdue, signaled the two Democratic frontrunners are ready to engage more directly with voters in their respective Senate races roughly a month out from Election Day – and to do it wearing masks.

“I think that the science is very clear that masks work,” Warnock said Saturday.

“This virus is neither red or blue, Democrat or Republican,” Warnock continued. “It’s a virus. And the best thing we can do for one another – the most patriotic thing we can do – is put on a mask, socially distance, wash our hands and take care of our neighbors.”

The several-dozen people in attendance handing out signs Saturday in support of Warnock and Ossoff all wore masks and conducted their activities outdoors, marking a contrast between Republican candidates and incumbents who have taken a more cavalier approach to masking.

Loeffler, speaking with U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee at a Forsyth County restaurant Friday, stated she will not require masks to be worn among attendees at her campaign events despite the positive COVID-19 test results this week of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

“I have had twenty-three Delta (Airlines) flights since May 4th,” Loeffler said Friday. “It is safe to be out and about if you take those precautions. And we should. We have to reopen the economy.”

“The Democrats want to keep us locked down,” Loeffler continued. “We have to find ways to manage through this. I would just encourage Georgians to keep a level head and make sure they’re being cognizant of [health] guidelines.”

Collins, the U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain and Republican who is waging a fierce campaign against Loeffler for Georgia’s share of conservative votes, has also declined to require masks at his campaign events.

“We encourage people to be safe in ways they are comfortable with,” said Collins campaign spokesman Dan McLagan.

“Not being control-mad socialists, we are not big into requiring things,” McLagan added. “Be respectful of others, wear a mask if you wish, social distance.”

The approaches between Democrat and Republican candidates on the campaign trail this election season have been starkly different, marked by an intense focus on safety guidelines by more liberal candidates like Ossoff and Warnock and a more assertive stance on personal choice espoused by conservatives like Loeffler, Collins and Perdue.

Perdue, who like his Republican counterpart Loeffler tested negative for coronavirus Friday following news of Trump’s contraction, said he continues “to urge all Georgians to stay vigilant as we fight this virus.”

“Remember to follow the three ‘W’s’: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear your mask!” Perdue wrote on Twitter Friday.

The alliance of Ossoff’s campaign with fellow Democrat Warnock represents an unusual occurrence, given elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats normally occur in staggered years that do not overlap.

But the start-of-the-year retirement by Isakson, a Republican, has thrust both Senate seats into play and partnered Warnock and Ossoff as the state’s Democratic party seeks to solidify support – and potentially help flip the balance of power in Congress.

On Saturday, Ossoff pressed for less political divisiveness amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has crippled swaths of the economy and hounded Georgians who in many communities are venturing back out in public after more than six months of social isolation.

“This should be a time for healing and unity,” Ossoff said Saturday. “And Reverend Warnock and I are united in the effort to unite the people to focus on what matters, which is our health, our well-being [and] our prosperity.”

As of Friday afternoon, more than 320,000 people in Georgia had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel strain of coronavirus that sparked a global pandemic. It had killed 7,106 Georgians.

Early voting in Georgia for the Nov. 3 elections starts on Oct. 12.

Loeffler rallies with Tennessee’s Blackburn on abortion, Supreme Court pick

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (right) campaigns with U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (left) in Forsyth County on Oct. 2, 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans)

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., hit the campaign trail Friday to rally with fellow Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee in support of anti-abortion policies and the nominee for an open U.S. Supreme Court seat amid the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The appearance by Loeffler and Blackburn came hours after President Donald Trump announced he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus and would quarantine for two weeks.

Both Loeffler and Blackburn said they tested negative for the highly contagious virus earlier in the day after taking rapid tests amid stops in Cobb and Forsyth counties, where they pressed for more conservative women representation in Congress.

“There is nothing that the radical left fears more than a strong conservative woman,” Loeffler said at a stop at Black Diamond Grill in Cumming, Ga.

Loeffler is waging a fierce battle with Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Doug Collins to woo conservative Georgia voters ahead of the upcoming Nov. 3 special election. Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman, is facing around 20 other contenders for her seat after being appointed in December to fill the remainder of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.

A Collins campaign spokesman brushed off Blackburn’s show of support for Loeffler, saying: “Who’s Marsha?”

Collins has crisscrossed the state since summer in a bid to pull enough conservative voters from Loeffler to make an expected January runoff for the Senate seat. He has touted his background as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain, the son of a state trooper and his staunch backing of Trump, including the president’s Supreme Court pick in Amy Coney Barrett, who many Republicans hope will vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand.

“Let’s get Amy Coney Barrett confirmed,” Collins said in a recent Facebook post. “Let’s stop the killing.”

Barrett’s nomination is being watched closely for its potential to swing the court in favor of more conservative justices.

Collins has pounced on Loeffler for her co-ownership of the women’s professional basketball team Atlanta Dream that once held a promotional event benefitting the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood, which is typically portrayed as a villain by conservative politicians.

Loeffler has dismissed that criticism, maintaining that among her top priorities if elected to keep her seat would be to fight pro-choice groups and policies, particularly Planned Parenthood.

Asked if her main interest in confirming Barrett would be to end abortion protections, Loeffler said she couldn’t speak for the court nominee but favors her strict constitutionalist approach to the bench.

“I believe myself that that would mean protecting the unborn,” Loeffler said Friday. “That’s what I stand for. That’s what I hope can happen. But I cannot speak for Judge Barrett on that.”

Loeffler also said she would not require attendees at her campaign events going forward to wear masks despite the president’s coronavirus contraction, though she said she “encourages all Georgians to wear a mask.”

Meanwhile, Democratic frontrunner Rev. Raphael Warnock has seen a recent surge in the polls that suggests he’s pulling slightly ahead of Collins and Loeffler, though likely not enough to gain the 50% vote majority needed in November to avoid a runoff.

Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has been campaigning lately alongside fellow Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff, the investigative journalist challenging U.S. Sen. David Perdue in the Nov. 3 general election.

Echoing Democratic candidates nationwide, Warnock has sought to elevate access to health care and health insurance as a top issue in the Senate race, noting he would cast votes to strengthen the Affordable Care Act with a public option.

Warnock’s campaign announced this week he had raised nearly $13 million in campaign donations since July, upping his total haul to more than $17 million. That amount should help him compete down the stretch for ad space with Loeffler, who has committed $20 million of her own money to her campaign and aired high-priced ads funded by allied political action committees.

“The next justice appointed to the Supreme Court could determine the future of health care,” Warnock said in a recent statement. “Whether protections for pre-existing conditions remains the law of the land rests in the hands of the Supreme Court, and Georgians cannot afford a senator who has tried to overturn the [Affordable Care Act] and end those protections to be our voice in appointing the nation’s new justice.”

Collins, Warnock nab endorsements from former Georgia governors

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (left), U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (center) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (right) are competing in the Nov. 3 special election.

Former Georgia governors are weighing in with endorsements in the campaign for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat ahead of the Nov. 3 special election.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican who served two terms from 2011 to 2019, is backing U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for the Senate seat over Loeffler, who current Gov. Brian Kemp appointed to hold retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat in December.

The endorsement pits Georgia’s most recent governor against its current one in a campaign that has emphasized intra-party schisms between many of the state’s most powerful Republican political leaders.

On the Democratic side, former President Jimmy Carter, who served as Georgia’s governor from 1971 to 1975, handed his support Tuesday to frontrunner Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, who has collected a pile of endorsements from top Democratic leaders and groups.

The endorsements come as the hotly contested Senate race heads down the final stretch with roughly a month left until Election Day, when nearly two dozen candidates from all parties will compete on the same ballot for Loeffler’s seat.

Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman, has waged an intense campaign against Collins, the four-term Gainesville congressman, preacher and fellow Republican who has polled neck-and-neck with Loeffler in recent weeks as each seeks to woo conservative voters.

Collins’ campaign has jabbed often at Loeffler’s use of her wealth to buy campaign ads and travel, a sentiment Deal echoed in his endorsement.

“I know that the governor had to make a tough choice, but I’ve made my choice too, and that’s Doug Collins,” Deal said in a statement. “A Senate seat representing the state of Georgia cannot be bought.”

Deal’s backing followed the endorsement of Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, for Collins earlier this month.

Loeffler’s campaign has previously dismissed criticism of her wealth and attacked Collins over his stint as a criminal defense attorney and record of voting in step with former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on certain issues when both served in the state legislature.

More recently, Loeffler’s campaign drew headlines for releasing a pair of ads calling herself “more conservative” than the 5th-century warlord Attila the Hun. She has also pledged to vote in favor of President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Warnock, who has climbed in the polls in recent weeks, also released a new ad Tuesday in which he urges Georgians to “try something different” and vote him into the Senate. He has vowed to vote against Trump’s court nominee and sought to elevate health care as among the top issues in the race.

The endorsement from Carter looks to solidify Warnock’s standing even further as the Democratic frontrunner amid calls for other Democratic candidates in the crowded race to drop out and consolidate support around him.

“Reverend Warnock knows the struggles Georgians are facing in this unique crisis — families losing health care, shuttered rural hospitals and record unemployment — all in the middle of a pandemic,” Carter said in a statement.

Health-care consultant Matt Lieberman, who is the son of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, has rejected calls to exit the race.

A runoff will be held in January if none of the 21 candidates including Loeffler can win more than 50% of the vote in the Nov. 3 special election.

Absentee ballot tracking tool launched in Georgia for Nov. 3 election

Voters wait in line at a precinct in Cobb County on May 18, 2020. (Photo by Beau Evans)

Georgians planning to vote by mail in the Nov. 3 general election have a new way to track the status of their absentee ballots after requesting one.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has launched a new online tracking system called BallotTrax that lets voters sign up for text or email alerts on their ballot status.

“Creating this new absentee ballot tracking and notification system will provide Georgia voters with greater clarity and increased confidence that their votes are accepted,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

The website to sign up for alerts is here.

The new system comes after Raffensperger’s office launched an online portal to request absentee ballots last month. More than 200,000 people had used the request portal as of last Friday, Raffensperger said.

Around 1.2 million Georgians have been sent absentee ballots so far, marking a surge in vote-by-mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the tracking system, voters will receive a message when their absentee-ballot application is accepted, when the ballot itself is sent to a voter and whether the cast ballot is accepted or rejected, according to Raffensperger’s office.

Anyone whose mail-in ballot is rejected will be given instructions on how to correct the issue and make sure their vote is counted, Raffensperger’s office said.

Georgia is poised for record voter turnout in the Nov. 3 general election with a presidential contest, two U.S. Senate seats, congressional, state and local offices all on the ballot.

The new absentee-ballot online tools, combined with a push to recruit more poll workers and a separate online tool to track wait times in line on Election Day, aim to ease problems seen in the June 9 primaries when Georgians faced long lines and technical hiccups with voting machines.

Raffensperger in recent weeks has repeatedly expressed confidence the upcoming election will run as smoothly as possible despite the challenges of high voter turnout, new voting machines and the ongoing pandemic.

“We have a very robust plan of action for the November election cycle,” Raffensperger said last week. “I think we’re much better prepared.”

U.S. Senate race in Georgia intensifies with Supreme Court pick

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (left), U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (center) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (right) are competing in the Nov. 3 special election.

The race for a hotly contested U.S. Senate seat in Georgia kicked up a notch last week with the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and calls for a Democratic candidate to drop out in favor of the frontrunner.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Atlanta businesswoman appointed to hold retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat until the Nov. 3 special election, released an ad Friday claiming she was “the first senator in America” to back President Donald Trump’s push to nominate a new justice ahead of the upcoming election.

“Our nation desperately needs another pro-life justice who will uphold the Constitution and defend conservative values,” Loeffler said.

The ad also takes aim at her Democratic competitor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has signaled he would vote against Trump’s nominee if he were to win the election outright on Nov. 3 – a tall order given the 50% vote threshold any of the 21 candidates in the race will need to cross.

“If that is the case and I can win outright on Nov. 3, the vote from the senator in Georgia might be the difference between setting an entire generation under an ideologue on the court or giving the American people a chance to weigh in,” Warnock said in an interview.

And U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, the Republican from Gainesville who has bludgeoned Loeffler with campaign attacks for months, stirred controversy by criticizing Ginsburg’s court opinions on abortion within hours after her death on Sept. 18.

“RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws,” Collins wrote on Twitter.

Ginsburg’s death has catapulted the race for Loeffler’s seat even further into the national spotlight, given the victor could not only tip the balance between conservative and liberal justices on the nation’s highest court, but also decide which party holds a majority in the Senate.

Recent polls have shown Loeffler and Collins running neck-and-neck in the low to mid-20% range, with Warnock creeping up close to them within a few percentage points as his profile elevates with new ads, support from sports figures and his potential influence on the Supreme Court nominee.

It’s for that reason Democratic leaders in Georgia like former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have renewed calls for candidate Matt Liberman to drop out and unify support for one Democratic candidate in the free-for-all race, in which candidates from all parties will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

But Lieberman, a health-care consultant and former educator who is the son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, has signaled he does not intend to exit the race due to the large number of undecided voters who might break his way on Election Day.

“It’s been a tight race the whole time,” Lieberman said in a recent interview. “Obviously, [Warnock] has every advantage and he should have pulled away, but he hasn’t.”

Meanwhile, Loeffler drew attention last week for a pair of ads she released calling herself “more conservative” than the 5th-century warlord Attila the Hun. The ads marked the latest move in the fight between Collins and Loeffler to win the title of most conservative candidate as they seek to woo Republican voters.

“The liberal snowflakes of the world melted when they found out that conservative businesswoman Kelly Loeffler was to the right of Attila the Hun,” said Loeffler campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson. “Now that we’re releasing a second ad highlighting Kelly’s pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Trump values, we assume they will probably evaporate.”

In recent months, Loeffler has filed a steady stream of legislation in the Senate focused on immigration enforcement, punishing violent protesters, protecting funds for police agencies and gun-ownership rights. She has also criticized the Black Lives Matter protest movement as she seeks to solidify her image as a pro-law enforcement candidate.

Collins, meanwhile, has long touted his background as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain and the son of a Georgia state trooper, emphasizing his law-and-order roots, support for gun-ownership rights and opposition to abortion.

He has also begun firing shots at Warnock, who has largely escaped criticism from Republican contenders in the race as they batter each other. Collins highlighted a recent segment by Fox News host Tucker Carlson that points outs comments Warnock made criticizing police officers while preaching at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he presides as senior pastor.

“Tucker Carlson exposed the hatred for our police from Stacey Abrams’ handpicked candidate for Senate, Mr. Warnock,” Collins said on Twitter. “In the Senate, I’ll continue to back the blue.”

While the Fox News segment featured comments from 2015 describing certain officers as “thugs”, Warnock in a recent interview said he supports officers overall but would vote in the Senate for uniform use-of-force-standards, abolishing qualified immunity and creating a third-party independent body to investigate officer-involved fatal encounters.

“We have got to have public policy that centers on the humanity of black people,” Warnock said. “Black people don’t want more than anyone else. We just want equal treatment under the law.”

Loeffler has made support for law enforcement central to her campaign, capitalizing on broad negative reaction from many conservative voters over instances of violence and vandalism seen during protests against police brutality and racial injustice since June.

She particularly has taken strong stances against calls from some advocates and lawmakers to reduce funding for police departments, going so far as to introduce legislation that would yank federal dollars from cities that shrink their police budgets.

“For months, the radical Left’s ‘defund the police’ movement has promoted violence, chaos and anarchy in cities across our country, while villainizing and attacking the brave men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives to keep us safe,” Loeffler said this month.

As Loeffler and Collins trade blows, Warnock has sought to elevate health care as among the most important issues in the race. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened health-care inequality in communities and acts as proof of the need for expanded access to Medicare and universal insurance coverage, Warnock has said.

“We don’t suffer from a lack of resources,” Warnock said. “We suffer from a lack of political will and moral imagination.”

On the health-care front, Loeffler has focused much of her early activities in the Senate on efforts to block federal funds from groups that provide abortions like Planned Parenthood and to boost access to health-care services for military veterans.

Collins, who has frequently expressed opposition to the Affordable Care Act, aligns with Loeffler and the prevailing Republican stance that favors expanding options for securing health insurance with less government influence on the marketplace.

“Even if you thought it was a good idea to start with, it’s not being funded,” Collins said recently of the Affordable Care Act. “We’ve got to get back to a system that protects pre-existing conditions.”

Amid the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate race is steaming for the finish line with less than 40 days until the special election. A runoff will be held in January if none of the 21 candidates including Loeffler can win more than 50% of the vote.

Issues Box

In their own words, he is how Loeffler, Collins and Warnock stand on some key issues:

On health insurance and the Affordable Care Act:

LOEFFLER: “I believe the solution [to health care costs] is not a government-run system that would get rid of employer-provided insurance, shutter our hospitals and raise taxes on the middle class.”

COLLINS: “[The Affordable Care Act] has basically become the anchor that floats off the back of the boat, slowing everything down and causing problems.”

WARNOCK: “[Universal health care] is for me a human right and it is certainly something that the richest nation in the world can and should provide for all its citizens.”

On the impacts of COVID-19 and the continuing economic recovery:

LOEFFLER: “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, and the federal response has been in full force to help provide relief.”

COLLINS: “Georgia in particular is an example for other parts of the country to say we can get back out of this and have a get-well mentality instead of a get-sick mentality.”

WARNOCK: “I think we have to remind people that our response is out of love and not out of fear. It is a way of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. And I think we ought to embody that in public policy.”

On law enforcement and police reforms amid nationwide protests:

LOEFFLER: “American cities, businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed as a result of violent rioters and looters. Enough is enough. The violence must stop, and it’s time to hold these criminals and vandals accountable.”

COLLINS: “The training aspect is something that’s more prevalent that we need to look at, at all levels of law enforcement. There are always going to be those moments … when you don’t know what you’re walking into and you have to make a life-or-death decision.”

WARNOCK: “Black people are dying. There’s a human toll that I think we cannot lose sight of in all of this.”

On immigration reform, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and border protection:

LOEFFLER: “For years under the Obama administration, our Southern border was left exposed, incentivizing the flow of illegal immigrants and illicit drugs into our country. President Donald Trump has taken swift action to reverse this trend and prioritized building the border wall to protect Americans and keep our nation safe.”

COLLINS: “I think there’s ways we could fix [DACA] if we could have a more honest conversation.”

WARNOCK: “People need a dignified path to citizenship. What I would abolish is the dehumanization of people.”