Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of many top national politicians to get involved in the Georgia Senate runoffs so far, sending out a fundraising email on behalf of Democrat Raphael Warnock, who is challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, on Thursday.
Loeffler, R-Ga., and Warnock are locked in a food fight of a race as Georgia is set for two U.S. Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 with major implications for the legislature and the incoming Biden administration. Both races have garnered intense national attention.
“These runoff elections will determine which party controls the Senate. And gaining a Democratic majority is essential if we are going to put forth a progressive agenda that includes health care as a right, a Green New Deal, a living wage of $15 an hour, criminal justice reform and so many other important issues,” the Sanders, I-Vt., fundraising email says.
“I am writing now to ask you to contribute to Rev. Raphael Warnock, a strong progressive, who has an excellent chance to win,” it continues. “He is running on a platform of universal health care, workers’ rights and protecting our environment.”
Former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke also put his email list to work, pushing out fundraising links for both Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who is in the runoff against Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., also set for Jan. 5.
“Georgia needs our help,” the fundraising email from O’Rourke said. “Amy and I donated to both the Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock campaigns this week. They are our best chances at winning a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate (which, among other things, will determine how effective a Biden administration can be).”
Sanders and O’Rourke are not the only high-profile progressives to get involved in the Georgia Senate races.
Progressive leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., touted that she’s raised over $370,000 for groups supporting Warnock and Ossoff, as reported by Newsweek. On Thursday, Pete Buttigieg, a former Democratic presidential candidate and a favorite for President-elect Biden’s Cabinet, participated in a virtual fundraiser for Warnock.
Loeffler highlighted that Sanders is stumping for Warnock in a Friday tweet, which quoted a Politico reporter, who reported first on the Sanders fundraising email.
“Folks — this says it all. Bernie Sanders is raising money for @ReverendWarnock,” Loeffler said. “If Democrats win the Senate, Bernie will be the Budget Chairman. We can’t let that happen.”.
Meanwhile, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both Republicans from Florida, are in Georgia this week rallying for Perdue and Loeffler. Rubio spoke alongside Loeffler and Perdue’s wife, Bonnie, on Wednesday. Scott is holding a rally on Friday afternoon.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on “Fox & Friends” this week that he is transferring $1 million from his campaign to Perdue and Loeffler. A litany of other top national Republicans are also set to appear in Georgia in the coming months.
The high-profile national names descending on the Peach State are only expected to increase in prominence and frequency as Jan. 5 nears, with President Trump and former President Obama widely anticipated to campaign for their respective parties’ candidates.
Control of the U.S. Senate for either current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., or current Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is essentially on the ballots along with the Georgia candidates.
Republicans currently hold 50 total Senate seats. That means if Democrats sweep the Georgia races, the parties will be tied at 50 seats apiece and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be able to break tied votes, essentially meaning Democrats will be the majority.
If Republicans win one or both of the seats, McConnell will remain the majority leader for at least two more years and Republicans will have a significant say over President-elect Biden’s agenda, from health care to Cabinet appointments.