USA: Important vote for Biden: Runoff in Georgia

Barely a month after the congressional elections in the USA, a last open seat in the Senate will be awarded in the state of Georgia.

USA: Important vote for Biden: Runoff in Georgia

Barely a month after the congressional elections in the USA, a last open seat in the Senate will be awarded in the state of Georgia. The outcome of the election will determine how much political leeway US President Joe Biden's Democrats will have in the chamber in the future. They already have the majority there, but they could possibly expand it - which would make life a little easier for Biden.

The polling stations in Georgia opened on Tuesday morning (local time) and should not close until Wednesday morning according to German time. In the runoff, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker once again went head-to-head. Neither of the two candidates got more than 50 percent of the votes in the first attempt at the beginning of November. According to the electoral law of the federal state, a runoff election was therefore necessary.

Ex-President Donald Trump hopes his protégé Walker will win and avoid another defeat. Several candidates supported by Trump failed in the November congressional election, weakening his role in his own party.

Is the balance of power shifting?

The Democrats had already secured 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate during the so-called midterms in November - and thus regained control of the important chamber of congresses. Because the Democratic US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also President of the Senate, is allowed to vote in a stalemate. Should Walker win the Republican seat in Georgia, the balance of power in the Senate would remain 50-50.

However, the first half of Biden's tenure has highlighted just how important a 51st Senate seat could be for Democrats. In particular, two senators from his own ranks made life difficult for Biden and blocked several of his projects. Above all, the Democrat Joe Manchin repeatedly stood in the way and thus snubbed his own party and Biden. If the Democrats get the 51st seat, Biden's Democrats would have a somewhat more comfortable majority in the chamber - and at least Manchin could no longer slow him down alone.

The Georgia election campaign drew a lot of attention. Well-known politicians from both parties intervened because of the outstanding importance for the power structure in the Senate. Against the 53-year-old incumbent Warnock, a black pastor, the Republicans sent the black ex-football star Walker into the race. The 60-year-old received support from Trump during the campaign but came under pressure from allegations by two women who accused Walker of pressuring them into abortions after having affairs with him. This is also piquant because Walker came out as a strict anti-abortion opponent. He denies the allegations.

Rather no help for party friend

Biden did not appear in Georgia in the election campaign before the run-off election - with his low popularity ratings, an appearance by his party friend would probably have been political ballast for Warnock. Instead, popular former Democratic President Barack Obama came to Georgia, which has a higher proportion of black voters than many other states.

Republican Walker received support from Trump shortly before the election. "Herschel was a great athlete and he will be an even greater United States Senator," Trump wrote on Truth Social, a platform he co-founded. However, Trump also refrained from a joint campaign appearance before the runoff - and instead advertised for Walker at a digital event on Monday evening (local time).

Trump announced three weeks ago that he would run again as the Republican presidential candidate in 2024. With his influence in the party already diminished, another defeat by a candidate he supports would be particularly bitter for him. In general, the Democrats had done unexpectedly well in the congressional election. They lost their majority in the House of Representatives, but narrower than widely expected.

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