GOP pollster fears low Republican turnout in Georgia Senate runoffs
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Nearly 1.5 million Georgians have already voted in the state’s twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, where the Republican majority in the Senate is at stake.
The latest early voting numbers released Monday morning by state officials indicate that 19.3% – or nearly one-fifth of all registered voters in Georgia – have already cast a ballot in the two contests.
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More than 900,000 Georgians have cast a ballot through early in-person voting at polling stations that have been open for a week, with nearly 570,000 casting an absentee ballot.
The high number of Georgians who have already voted in two Senate runoffs rivals the early turnout at this point in the November general election. A record 4.9 million voters in the state cast ballots in the general election.
Fulton County elections workers work with voters during early voting in the state’s runoff election at Chastain Park Gymnasium in Atlanta’s Chastain Park neighborhood, Dec. 16, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
The elevated turnout indicates intense enthusiasm among both Democrats and Republicans.
Tim Phillips, president of the powerful conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), told Fox News this month that voters on both sides are energized.
Phillips, who two decades ago steered a successful public affairs and political consulting firm based in Georgia, has been back in the Peach State leading grassroots organizers from his group’s political arm during the runoff campaign.
Voter turnout normally drops in runoff elections, but Phillips said that he believes "the turnout is going to be astronomical … you can feel the electricity. … My gut is this will be historic turnout for a runoff."
And he predicted that he wouldn’t be "surprised if turnout blows past 4.5 million," which would be close to the general election turnout.
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The balance of power for the next Senate coming out of last month’s elections is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. This means Democrats must win both of Georgia’s runoffs to make it a 50-50 Senate. If that occurs, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber.
In Georgia, where state law dictates a runoff if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, GOP Sen. David Perdue narrowly missed avoiding a runoff, winning 49.75% of the vote. Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff trailed by roughly 87,000 votes.
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In the other race, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler captured nearly 26% of the vote in a whopping 20-candidate special election to fill the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. Loeffler was appointed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp after Isakson stepped down to due health reasons. Her opponent in the runoff, Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock, won nearly 33% of the vote in the special election.
If the Democrats win both races, they would control both the Senate and the House as well as the White House.
Fox News' Remy Numa contributed to this report.
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