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The Democrats have already secured a majority in the House of Representatives in the November election.
Voters in the state of Georgia, United States, chose this Tuesday through direct vote the two candidates to represent them in the U.S. Senate through a special runoff election that will define the control of the U.S. Congress.
Among the candidates are the Republican Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman who was appointed to the seat in 2019 to replace a retired senator, and Democrat Raphael Warnock, a progressive Black pastor from Atlanta, the state's capital city.
In the other race, Republican Senator David Perdue, a businessman and cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, faced off against Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former aide to Democratic Congressman Hank Johnson, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017.
As of this writing, Loeffler and Perdue hold razor thin leads, each with 50.2% of the votes, respectively, with over 76% of the total votes counted.
The Democrats must win both positions to have a majority in the Senate and if they do, each party would be left with 50 seats, a process where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as Senate president, will have the deciding vote.
You may be wondering why Georgia has these unusual runoff elections. The decades-old system has racist roots — part of an effort to dilute Black voting power.https://t.co/AIVJKlaktp
A Senate controlled by the Republican opposition, on the other hand, would put serious obstacles in the way of ratifying Biden's nominees for his cabinet, as well as approving his proposed policy directives and legislative proposals over the next four years.
These elections also had an extensive early voting period in which, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, more than three million votes have already been received: 996,702 by mail and 2.07 million in person.
The important runoff has led to record-breaking campaign fundraising, as Ossoff and Warnock have each raised more than $100m in a mere two months, far surpassing their conservative opponents.
Ossoff, in charge of the media production business, raised more than $140 million from mid-October to mid-December, according to his campaign’s most recent financial report, wheras Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist church, raised slightly more than $125 million. An oustounding $500 million has been spent on televsion ads in the past two months alone targeting Georgia voters to elect the respective parties' candidates.