Vice President Mike Pence swung through North Georgia Friday to boost the runoff campaigns for the state’s two Republican senators as they battle strong Democratic contenders for control of the U.S. Senate.
Pence’s rally stops in Cherokee and Hall counties came as Georgia’s presidential election results were set to be certified Friday afternoon, confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state over President Donald Trump.
The vice president made it plain that with Biden’s win and U.S. House Democrats retaining their majority, Georgia Republican voters will need to hand GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler victories in the Jan. 5 runoff elections to block Democratic control of Congress and the White House.
“We need the great state of Georgia to defend the majority,” Pence said at a rally in Canton. “And the road to the Senate Republican majority goes straight through the state of Georgia.”
Hinting at the prospects of an incoming Biden administration, Pence said Georgia “could be the last line of defense” against Democratic control in Washington, D.C., though Trump still has not conceded defeat in this month’s general election.
Pence is the latest high-profile national Republican to stump for Perdue and Loeffler in Georgia ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections, following visits from Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
They are helping fuel a campaign by national and state Republicans to paint Democratic Senate hopefuls Jon Ossoff, an investigative journalist, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, as too far left for Georgia voters.
That message has been carried in a series of attack ads from Loeffler featuring her opponent Warnock’s past comments on police from the pulpit, and in television interviews where Perdue has accused Ossoff of being too cozy with China.
Ossoff and Warnock punched back this week, highlighting news reports on moves Perdue allegedly pursued to benefit a Navy supplier and professional sports owners, as well as an ethics complaint lodged against Loeffler for appearing to solicit campaign donations on federal property.
The two runoff races look to gain steam over the next six weeks with intense national attention being paid to the candidates and money pouring in from both political parties to bolster each campaign.
Early voting for the Senate runoff elections starts Dec. 14. The deadline for Georgia voters to register for the runoffs is Dec. 7.