ATLANTA — President-elect Joe Biden returned to Atlanta to campaign for Democratic senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Tuesday.
Biden told Georgia voters on Tuesday that they must deliver two Democratic Senate runoffs victories in January so his administration can forcefully confront the coronavirus pandemic and other national challenges.
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke one-on-one with President-Elect Biden in an interview after the rally.
“It would make a great deal of difference if we win both these races. It’s 50-50 and the vice president breaks the tie,” Biden said. “It would be a position where we have a much better chance of making sure we get the COVID initiative I put forward.”
The president-elect warned that Republican victories would leave him to face the kind of GOP obstruction that hampered former President Barack Obama for most of his two terms.
“I need two senators from this state who want to get something done,” Biden said at a drive-in rally near downtown Atlanta, criticizing Perdue and Loeffler for not supporting a sweeping new economic aid package as the coronavirus pandemic surges.
The president-elect told Elliot that he’s prepared to get the vaccine as soon as it’s his turn.
“I would do all I could to regain, have people regain confidence, and I committed that when its my turn to get the vaccine, I will do it in public. I’ll let people see it being done.”
Biden’s rally for the Democratic candidates comes on the second day of early voting and a day after the Electoral College cemented his victory over President Donald Trump.
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Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have cranked up their campaigns too. Perdue released a new ad Monday urging all Republicans to get out to vote.
Perdue and Loeffler have not yet publicly acknowledged Biden is president-elect, though Loeffler tweeted midday Tuesday: “I will never stop fighting for @realDonaldTrump because he has never stopped fighting for us!”
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit Georgia on Thursday to campaign once again for Loeffler and Perdue.
Pence will have stops in Columbus and Macon. Trump campaigned earlier this month in Valdosta.
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 required to win statewide offices in Georgia.
Republicans need just one more seat for a Senate majority. Democrats must sweep the runoff elections to get a 50-50 Senate and make Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tiebreaking majority vote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
GEORGIA VOTER GUIDE:
- How to vote by absentee ballot for Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff elections
- COUNTY-BY-COUNTY: Where can I early vote in north Georgia for the Senate runoff?
- INTERACTIVE MAP: Where can I drop off my absentee ballot in metro Atlanta?
- Meet the candidates running for Georgia’s U.S. Senate Seat: David Perdue vs. Jon Ossoff
- Meet candidates for Georgia’s U.S. Senate Seat: Kelly Loeffler vs. Raphael Warnock