ATLANTA—Candidates for one of two U.S. Senate seats still hanging in the balance will face off in a debate that is drawing strong interest beyond Georgia.
That is because the seat—now held by incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler and being challenged by Democrat Raphael Warnock — is one of two that will tip control of the Senate to either Republicans or Democrats. Loeffler and Warnock face off Sunday in a debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. Although Warnock has sought additional debates, none have been scheduled yet, meaning this could be the only head-to-head debate between the two candidates.
The other Senate seat still undecided is between Georgia Republican U.S. Sen David Perdue, who has declined to meet Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff in additional debates after the two jousted twice before the general election. Ossoff will get a solo platform Sunday to make his case.
The runoffs will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate, prompting a huge wave of money and organizing effort trying to get Georgians to vote again on or before Jan. 5.
In both races, a runoff is required under Georgia state law because no candidate reached 50 [percent] in November. Perdue fell just short of defeating Ossoff because a Libertarian candidate won a small slice of the vote, while Warnock led Loeffler in a 20-way field in which no candidate came close to 50 [percent].
Last week, the Georgia Legislature saw a surveillance video presented by President Donald Trump’s team that shows containers being wheeled out from underneath a table on Election Night, while the team said that poll observers and other election workers were told to go home for the night. They said that the video, along with statements provided by election officials, show that vote counters stayed behind until around 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 4.
Georgia Governor Kemp said state election officials like Raffensberger should explain what happened, describing the footage as “concerning.” Raffensberger later called on the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to assist in probing the allegations.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger continued to defend the integrity of the presidential election Sunday. “These distractions, this disunity, it does make it more difficult,” Raffensperger said.
Loeffler and Perdue rallied Friday in Savannah with Vice President Mike Pence.
Warnock and Ossoff held a virtual rally Friday with former President Barack Obama.
By Jeff Amy and Bill Barrow
Epoch Time reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report