Biden, Harris to make closing pitches in Georgia’s Senate runoff contests

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U.S. president elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris appear on video screens as they hold a virtual meeting with their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advisory council in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will both travel to Georgia in the closing days before its pair of Senate runoff elections, underscoring the importance of contests that will determine which party controls the chamber next year.

Harris plans to tout the two Democratic Senate candidates at an event in Savannah on Sunday, and Biden will appear in Atlanta on Monday, Biden’s campaign announced.

The appearances ahead of Tuesday’s elections are part of what has become a proxy battle of sorts between the two 2020 presidential tickets. President Donald Trump plans to stage a final rally on Monday in Dalton, Ga., for the Republican candidates, and Vice President Mike Pence has also made multiple trips to the state in recent weeks.

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The contests pit Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler against Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively.

If the two Democratic candidates prevail, the parties would each hold 50 seats in the Senate next year. With Harris as vice president available to cast tie-breaking votes, Democrats would effectively control the chamber, providing a boost to Biden’s agenda.

Biden narrowly carried Georgia in the presidential race, becoming the first Democratic White House aspirant to do so since 1992. His victory has bolstered his party’s hopes in Tuesday’s races.

Trump has continued to press baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the Nov. 3 election and has blamed fellow Republicans, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, for allowing Biden to prevail.

“I love the Great State of Georgia, but the people who run it, from the Governor, @BrianKempGA, to the Secretary of State, are a complete disaster and don’t have a clue, or worse,” Trump said in late-night tweets on Tuesday. “Nobody can be this stupid.”

Trump’s tweets included a reference to a conspiracy theory involving the brother of Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. As multiple fact-checkers have pointed out, Raffensperger doesn’t have a brother.

“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!” Trump wrote.

Former president Barack Obama is also seeking to influence the Georgia Senate contests. He narrates a new minute-long spot for Ossoff, recounting Biden’s victory in Georgia, which he casts as a rejection of Trump’s “fear and division.”

“Now America is counting on you again,” Obama says, as he urges support for Ossoff.

The ad includes a rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” sung by musician John Legend.

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