Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff appears to be trying to drive a wedge between his Republican opponent, Senator David Perdue, and GOP voters who believe the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump.
Control of the Senate will be decided in two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 and the Republican candidates—Senators Perdue and Kelly Loeffler—are seeking to depict themselves as a bulwark against the Democrats’ agenda.
However, this framing suggests that a GOP majority in the Senate will be necessary to curb former Vice President Joe Biden‘s agenda after his inauguration next year. That idea contrasts sharply with the Trump campaign’s continued efforts to challenge election results and the president’s refusal to concede.
On Monday, Washington Post national political reporter Cleve R. Wootson Jr. pointed out the Republicans’ dilemma with a tweet from a Perdue campaign event.
“David Perdue’s conundrum in 10 seconds: He’s pitching himself and fellow Ga. Sen. Kelly Loeffler as the last line of defense against Democratic control.
“A guy in the crowd (the one in the hat) interrupts, screaming ‘What are you doing to stand up for President Trump,’” Wootson wrote.
David Perdue’s conundrum in 10 seconds: He’s pitching himself and fellow Ga. Sen. Kelly Loeffler as the last line of defense against Democratic control. A guy in the crowd (the one in the hat) interrupts, screaming ‘What are you doing to stand up for President Trump.’ pic.twitter.com/QuLuYFKGrV
— Cleve R. Wootson Jr. (@CleveWootson) November 23, 2020
Perdue was pictured standing in front of a bus which featured the slogan “Win Georgia, Save America.” Ossoff picked up on Wootson’s tweet and tried to frame the choice Perdue faces.
“Which is it,@perduesenate Did @realDonaldTrump lose the election?” Ossoff asked.
Margins in the Georgia runoffs are likely to be tight and disaffected Trump voters, unhappy with Republican efforts to keep the president in office, could prove crucial. Loeffler, who faces Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock, may face the same problem.
Many senior Republicans have accepted Biden’s victory and called on Trump to concede, but the president’s campaign is still challenging the results. A recount in Georgia will begin on Tuesday. It will be the third time the votes there have been counted, although it is very unlikely to change the outcome, according to Politico.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll from November 18 highlighted the difficulty facing Perdue and Loeffler. Fifty-two percent of Republicans polled said Trump had “rightfully won” the election, while 68 percent were concerned that the election was “rigged.”
While some Republicans are already looking beyond Trump and trying to secure their majority in the Senate in order to better handle a Biden administration, the president’s continued insistence that the election was stolen from him is putting Perdue and Loeffler in a potentially tricky position.
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