cloudyn.png
Thursday April 15th, 2021 1:29AM

Biden returns to Georgia as validator for Ossoff, Warnock

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans eager to cement GOP control of the U.S. Senate have branded Georgia's Democratic candidates as puppets who would ensure a leftist takeover of the federal government if Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler aren't reelected.

Democrats believe they have a helpful counter to the exaggerated attacks on Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock: President-elect Joe Biden, fresh off the Electoral College confirming his victory.

The first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992, Biden will return to the state Tuesday to campaign alongside Ossoff and Warnock ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections. The runoffs will determine which party controls the Senate and shape the legislative ambitions of Biden’s presidency.

They also will serve as an early test of Biden's power as president-elect while President Donald Trump continues to fight the election results by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud — even though election officials across the country, including Republican leaders in Georgia, have confirmed the election was not marred by fraud.

Democrats see Biden, who campaigned as a mainstream unifying figure, as well suited to make his party’s case in Georgia, an emerging battleground where a Democratic victory statewide still requires plenty of support from moderates — and perhaps even Republican-leaning independents.

“The president-elect can motivate our base but also what we call the Biden coalition,” said Tharon Johnson, previously a senior adviser to Biden’s Georgia campaign. “That means the progressives, the liberals, the moderates — and I’d add some suburban Republicans and even some rural voters who might have gotten away from us before.”

Biden’s joint rally with Ossoff and Warnock comes on the second day of early voting in Georgia and a day after the Electoral College cemented Biden’s victory over Trump, who has spent weeks telling his supporters that the election was rigged. Both parties see the Georgia contests as coin flips and have invested staggering sums that reflect the stakes.

A Biden aide said the president-elect will make a direct appeal to Georgians about what Senate control means, especially given the death toll and economic fallout from the surging coronavirus pandemic. Biden wants sweeping new economic aid for businesses, individuals and state and local governments as COVID-19 cases rise, but Congress remains at an impasse. The aide spoke ahead of Biden's remarks on condition of anonymity.

Biden's campaign, together with the Democratic National Committee, has steered about $5 million to Democrats' coordinated campaign in Georgia. The money is paying for about 50 campaign staffers, including many focused on suburbs and smaller cities where Biden surpassed usual Democratic tallies. The Biden campaign and the national party also have raised about $10 million directly for Ossoff and Warnock.

But Biden's biggest impact could be vouching for Ossoff and Warnock. The general election results show why the two could benefit from riding Biden's coattails.

Biden topped all candidates on Georgia’s November ballot with nearly 2,475,000 votes, finishing about 12,000 ahead of Trump out of 5 million ballots cast. Perdue finished with about the same number of votes as Trump and led Ossoff by about 88,000 votes, meaning Ossoff ran about 100,000 votes behind Biden.

Warnock and Loeffler, meanwhile, led a special election that included more than 20 candidates. But both finished well behind their respective parties’ statewide pace. The runoffs are necessary because none of the Senate candidates surpassed the 50% threshold as required to win statewide offices in Georgia.

The record general election turnout — about 850,000 more presidential votes than in 2016 — demonstrated considerable enthusiasm across the spectrum. And, certainly, Democrats’ decade-long organizing efforts in Georgia, especially in the booming metropolitan areas around Atlanta, paid off. But the gap between Biden and Ossoff suggests Biden’s margin depended at least partly on moderates and even some conservatives, especially in the Atlanta suburbs, who simply did not like Trump. Republicans believe those kinds of voters are primed to back Perdue and Loeffler in the runoff.

As of Tuesday morning, a total of 482,250 ballots had been cast either absentee or in Monday's early in-person voting.

Republicans need one more seat for a Senate majority. Democrats must sweep the runoffs to get a 50-50 Senate and make Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote.

Georgia Democratic chair Nikema Williams, a congresswoman-elect from Atlanta, pushed back on the idea that Ossoff and Warnock need Biden to have a path to victory. She framed the contests more about the distinctions between a Democratic and Republican Senate.

“I welcome my president-elect to Georgia,” Williams said, but “it’s not about appealing to one segment of voters.” Instead, she argued, the runoffs and Biden’s visit are about “appealing to all Georgians who want to see something different” on the pandemic response and other issues.

Johnson, who worked on the Biden campaign, said it’s impossible to separate those issues from Biden himself.

In Biden's fall campaign, Johnson said, “our first goal was to not let them label him as this left-wing, radical socialist.” Now that he’s won, Johnson said, “Who better to explain exactly what these Senate seats mean and why he needs them to get things done?”

Warnock and Ossoff have scoffed at the “socialist” labels from Republicans. Perdue and Loeffler have claimed falsely that the two Democrats support single-payer health insurance that would abolish private health insurance and want to “defund the police.”

But because Ossoff and Warnock have never held public office and are still building their brands, it's harder for them to offer the kind of retort Biden made in August as Trump was hammering him as a leftist.

“Ask yourself,” Biden said, “do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

Even some Republicans acknowledge the dynamics make Biden the ideal validator.

“He’s a known quantity,” said Republican Jack Kingston, a former congressman and Trump ally. “Voters know him, or even if they don’t really know him, they say, ’Oh, Joe Biden. He’s been there a long time, hasn’t he?”

Kingston noted Georgia's population growth and demographic shifts have favored Democrats, giving the party a larger liberal, urbanized base than it had just a decade ago. Biden, he said, knows how to tap that base without angering the middle.

“He’s been doing this for decades,” Kingston said. “He’ll give a nod to the liberals. He’ll give a nod to the mainstream. He knows what to say without embarrassing or alienating anybody.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden returns to Georgia as validator for Ossoff, Warnock
As Republicans try to brand Georgia's Democratic candidates as puppets who would ensure a leftist takeover of the Senate, Democrats believe they have a helpful counter to the exaggerated attacks: President-elect Joe Biden
12:11AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Trump says Barr resigning, will leave before Christmas
Attorney General William Barr, one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, is departing amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son
12:09AM ( 7 minutes ago )
In a first, leading Republicans call Biden president-elect
For the first time, a groundswell of leading Republicans say Democrat Joe Biden is the winner of the presidential election
12:07AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Democracy prevailed': Biden aims to unify divided nation
President-elect Joe Biden has pointedly criticized President Donald Trump for threatening core principles of democracy even as he told Americans that their form of self-government ultimately “prevailed.”
9:28PM ( 2 hours ago )
Under attack from Trump, institutions bend but don't break
America's democratic institutions are facing unprecedented strain from President Donald Trump as he fights to hold power despite losing his bid for reelection
8:07PM ( 4 hours ago )
Georgia to audit one county's signatures on ballot envelopes
Georgia’s secretary of state has announced an audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in one county
8:03PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: California pushes Biden to Electoral College win
California has cast the state’s 55 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden, formally cementing the Democrat’s victory over President Donald Trump
5:48PM ( 6 hours ago )
Crunch time for COVID-19 relief as bipartisan bills unveiled
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is unveiling a proposal for COVID-19 relief as Congress searches for a final agreement
5:22PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: GOP Michigan congressman becoming an independent
U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, a retiring Republican from Michigan, says he is disaffiliating from the GOP and becoming an independent for the rest of his term
5:12PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Company targeted by vote fraud claims strikes back at Trump
The head of an electronic voting company being targeted by allies of President Donald Trump said baseless claims that it helped flip the 2020 election for Joe Biden threaten to undermine Americans’ faith in democracy
3:27PM ( 8 hours ago )
Wisconsin Supreme Court tosses Trump election lawsuit
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state
2:27PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: Republicans mad about Biden's win hold side vote
Some Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the reality of President-elect Joe Biden’s win are meeting to cast ceremonial votes for President Donald Trump
1:22PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Battleground Nevada electors vote for Biden
Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors have awarded their votes for Joe Biden, becoming the first slate of electors from a battleground state to cast their votes
12:00PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Electors begin casting their votes for president
Electors from the first states have cast their votes
11:37AM ( 12 hours ago )
El Paso elects former mayor, defeating incumbent in runoff
El Paso residents have elected a new mayor
11:57AM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Ivory Coast President Ouattara inaugurated for third term
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara was inaugurated Monday for a third term in office amid ongoing outcries from opposition parties
11:03AM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Michigan legislative offices closed over threats
Michigan legislative offices are closed because of threats of violence as presidential electors prepare to gather in the state Capitol to cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden
9:44AM ( 14 hours ago )
US looking into possible computer hacks of federal agencies
Hackers got into computers at the U.S. Treasury Department and possibly other federal agencies, touching off a government response involving the National Security Council
4:52PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Doctor says Biden's fractured foot is healing as expected
Joe Biden's doctor says the president-elect's fractured foot has been healing
1:58PM ( 2 days ago )
In Georgia, Ossoff attacks Perdue as senator skips debate
Georgia Democratic Senate challenger Jon Ossoff is hammering Republican Sen. David Perdue for “cartoonish abuse of power” in the only scheduled debate before twin Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine which party controls the Senate
6:07PM ( 1 week ago )
Loeffler and Warnock to meet in Georgia Senate debate
Candidates for one of two U.S. Senate seats still hanging in the balance will face off in a debate that is drawing strong interest beyond Georgia
10:52AM ( 1 week ago )
General Senate Election News
EXPLAINER: The Electoral College meets Monday to cast votes
Voters cast their ballots for president more than a month ago, but the votes that officially matter will be cast Monday
9:36AM ( 3 days ago )
Hunter Biden tax probe examining Chinese business dealings
The Justice Department is investigating the finances of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinizing some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions
9:40AM ( 4 days ago )
The Latest: Biden to campaign in Georgia for Senate runoffs
President-elect Joe Biden is heading to Georgia to campaign for the Democratic candidates in the state’s two critical U.S. Senate runoffs
8:36AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Loeffler campaign condemns photo with white supremacist
The campaign of Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is condemning a photo circulating on social media of her posing with a longtime white supremacist at a recent campaign event
5:19PM ( 1 day ago )
Trump looks past Supreme Court loss to new election lawsuit
President Donald Trump says his campaign will join an improbable case before the Supreme Court challenging election results in Pennsylvania and other states that he lost
4:52PM ( 5 days ago )
Kansas lawmaker-to-be under order not to contact foe's aide
A soon-to-be seated Kansas lawmaker has had a temporary, anti-stalking order issued against him in court at the request of a former opponent’s campaign manager
8:19PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Trump says Barr resigning, will leave before Christmas
Attorney General William Barr, one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, is departing amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son
12:09AM ( 9 minutes ago )
In a first, leading Republicans call Biden president-elect
For the first time, a groundswell of leading Republicans say Democrat Joe Biden is the winner of the presidential election
12:07AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Jackson returns to save Ravens with 47-42 win over Browns
Lamar Jackson emerged from the locker room, saved the game and maybe Baltimore’s season
12:07AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Electoral College makes it official: Biden won, Trump lost
The Electoral College has formally confirmed that Joe Biden will be the nation’s next president, giving him a solid electoral majority of 306 votes to affirm his victory in last month’s election
12:05AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Asian shares decline following lackluster day on Wall Street
Asian shares are lower after a lackluster day on Wall Street as investors wait to see if Congress can break a logjam on delivering more aid to people, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic
10:53PM ( 1 hour ago )