With high stakes for both parties, early voting started on Monday in the Senate runoff races in Georgia. The two contests will determine whether Republicans can maintain their majority in the chamber.
Both of the state’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, were forced into runoffs against Democratic challengers. Mr. Perdue faces Jon Ossoff, the chief executive of a media production company; Ms. Loeffler is being challenged by the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a prominent pulpit in Atlanta that had once belonged to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Since Election Day, the runoffs, scheduled for Jan. 5, have been impossible to escape for Georgia voters. Ads from candidates have blanketed local television and radio stations, and coverage of the campaigns dominates the local news media. In and around Atlanta, roadside signs urge residents to get out and vote — once again.
“I feel like all eyes are on Georgia right now,” said Joanne Williams.
“It can go in any direction,” Ms. Williams, 27, said, “but I hope that people show up and practice their right to vote.”
The voting began as Georgia has been in the center of the national political spotlight for weeks. Because of their outsize role in deciding the partisan balance of the Senate, the runoffs have drawn a substantial amount of outside attention and investment.
State Democrats have been newly invigorated, with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. becoming the first presidential candidate from the party to win Georgia since 1992. Mr. Biden will visit the state on Tuesday to campaign for Mr. Warnock and Mr. Ossoff.
Georgia has also been a primary stage in President Trump’s fight to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, sparking conflict among state Republicans as Mr. Trump raised baseless claims of election fraud and attacked the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, a Republican.
Mr. Trump continued his criticism over the weekend. “What a fool Governor @BrianKempGA of Georgia is,” the president said in a Twitter post on Sunday. He repeated his argument that Mr. Kemp should have called a special session of the State Legislature in an effort to overturn the election in his favor. And he argued that the situation could spell for a “bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th.”
Raymond Floyd, 37, said he felt the charged energy and excitement of the moment as he waited in a line outside the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta, a few miles from the state capitol building. Mr. Floyd, who planned to vote for Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, said, “I like democracy at work.”
But he added, “Once this election is over, I’m ready for a sense of normalcy and a sense of respect.”
Jannat Batra contributed reporting.
Source: Read Full Article