In yesterday’s post, I did some quick calculating on the Senate and the Democrats odds of reaching a 50/50 tie that would make Kamala Harris the tiebreaker and have Chuck Schumer replace Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader. I was correct that the only path involved both Georgia contests reaching a run-off and the Democrat winning both. But as I was figuring how Democrats would win their 48th seat to make this possible, I forgot Mark Kelly was going to defeat Martha McSally in Arizona.
It’s not official yet, but that will happen. It’s also not official that Democrat Jon Ossoff will force a run-off with incumbent Republican David Perdue, but that’s a certainty too. Sooooo control of the Senate and the difference between full Democratic control of the White House plus both houses of Congress and a giant Mitch McConnell speed bump in the middle of the Biden-Pelosi agenda (too soon to know if that’s a combined agenda or Moderate Joe wanting to move at a different pace than the Speaker with AOC in her caucus), is Georgia.
Meanwhile, they’re still tabulating the presidential vote in the Peach State. And it’s gonna be close. Like definite recount, maybe 3,000 votes difference. Or less. That’s out of almost 5 million cast. If I were betting right now, I’d say Joe Biden will win. Given that he’s almost definitely won Nevada, and will almost definitely win Pennsylvania, the Georgia winner isn’t going to matter for the purposes of choosing the president. But the absurdly close finish makes this the ultimate 2020 swing state.
And in about 60 days, said swing state is going to decide who controls the Senate. Traditionally, Republicans do better in Georgia run-off elections. But traditionally Georgia isn’t the most purple place on the map. Anything is possible. Maybe Democrats stay home, thinking they’ve done their work getting Biden elected. Perhaps the Independents who broke for Biden make sure to show up because they want McConnell to balance out Biden and the Democrats.
Or maybe Democrats manage a huge get out the vote effort. The North Carolina race, won by incumbent Thom Tillis over challenger Cal Cunningham by a narrow margin, cost about a quarter billion dollars. Lindsey Graham’s fourth term from South Carolina, thought to be in great peril until the votes started getting counted, was purchased in an almost $200 million contest. I’d suspect these two Georgia run-offs will wind up costing at least a half billion combined, maybe more.
In terms of media and social media saturation, there will be infinitely more money and attention spent than on a presidential swing state. This will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. I can’t hazard a guess on the outcome. But you can be sure Georgia will be on our minds for the next two months, whether we want a different subject or not.