Maxine Davey | Editor in Chief
December 9, 2020
On January 5, incumbent Senators David Perdue (R) and Kelly Loeffler (R) will be challenged by Jon Ossoff (D) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D). The race will determine the fate of the Senate, and, ultimately, the path and effectiveness of the Biden administration. With two seats up for grabs (and the current standing at 48 Democrats and 50 Republicans), the Senate could either end up with another Republican majority or in a dead tie, which only Vice President Kamala Harris would have the power to break.
In the Senate race in November, Perdue and Ossoff came within 0.2% of each other, as Ossof squeaked out the win. However, state rules require the winning candidate to win over 50% of the vote, and as both candidates came in under this requirement, the January runoff is necessary.
The second race was a little more complicated, as a second Republican candidate (Doug Collins) was competitive in the initial race. As a result, the Republican vote was split between Loeffler and Collins, and as Warnock failed to amass 50% of the vote, the top two candidates (Loeffler and Warnock) will be pitted against one another in January.
If Republicans manage to keep their control over the Senate, we will once again have a divided Congress. “The advantage of a split Congress is that it provides more stability in the lawmaking process because both parties will have to decide together on policies,” senior and AP Government student Anna Dillbeck said. “But the disadvantage of it is that it could take longer for these policies to pass because of disagreements between the Senate/House of Representatives.”
Indeed, the the last four years have been characterized by a Congress that often finds itself in gridlock, the most pressing example being the government’s inability to agree on and pass a coronavirus stimulus bill. Thus far, the Democratic House and Republican Senate have been at odds with each other to the point of almost no compromise.
However, if both Democrats win seats, Congress will essentially be ruled by the left in both chambers, since it is expected (if not guaranteed) that Harris will vote Democratic.