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Meet the Georgia Senate Candidates

Two Senate races in Georgia will decide control of the Senate and the future of the PRO Act

Kris LaGrange's picture
Nov 30, 2020

Georgia has turned into the last battlefield in the fight to control the Senate. The state has a special runoff rule where if a candidate does not get 50% of the vote on Election Day, a runoff is held. Since Georgia had a unique situation where they had both of their Senate seats up for election this year, both races are going to a runoff that will be held on January 5th. Democrats need to win both seats to gain control of the Senate and the two elections will go a long way towards determining whether President-Elect Joe Biden is able to get his agenda, including the PRO Act approved.

The Democrats have two strong candidates running for the seats. Below is a look at the candidates.

Reverend Raphael Warnock is currently the Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, a position he took over in 2005. Other senior pastors at the church include both Dr. Martin Luther King Sr and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. From June 2017 through January 2020, Warnock chaired the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan organization focused on voter registration. Groups like the New Georgia Project and Stacey Abrams Fair Fight Action are the main reason why Georgia voted blue in the Presidential election as they focused on registering more voters of color and young voters in Georgia and the Atlanta area. Warnock left the organization when he decided to run in the Georgia Special election.

In terms of supporting worker issues, Warnock has said that he supports the PRO Act, a bill that would strengthen workers' ability to organize, collectively bargain, and would strengthen worker protections. He also supports the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would ensure public employees have the right to join a union and collectively bargain. According to Warnock’s website, in addition to improving the quality of education in the state, investing and expanding pre-k, and reducing higher education costs, he is advocating for more opportunities for things like vocational training, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs. He is also a supporter of a living wage, pay equity, and revoking tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs while providing incentives for made-in-America companies.

Warnock has been endorsed by the major unions including the Georgia AFL-CIO. “During this unprecedented time, Georgians need a senator that will advocate for policies and reforms to strengthen the rights of Georgia’s workers,” said Georgia AFL-CIO State Federation President Charlie Flemming. “Reverend Raphael Warnock has made it clear that he is a strong supporter of organized labor, and we are excited to work to elect him as the next Senator from Georgia and push back against the anti-worker agenda that threatens our nation and families.”

In the other Senate race, Jon Ossoff is the Democratic candidate. Ossoff is just 33 years old, but he grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Northlake. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and has a Masters degree from the London School of Economics. Ossoff served as a national security staffer and aide to Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-4) for five years. Since 2013, Ossoff has been the managing director and CEO of Insight TWI, a London-based investigative television production company that works with reporters to create documentaries about corruption in foreign countries. One film that Ossoff produced aired on the BBC and was about ISIS war crimes and death squads in East Africa.

Like Warnock, Ossoff supports both the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. After getting the endorsement of the Georgia Association of Educators, Ossoff said that he wants to work to increase teacher pay, expand pre-K education, and make public colleges 100% debt-free. He is also committed to pushing for big investments in infrastructure projects that will create job training and employment opportunities for millions of Americans. He is also committed to working to reduce the United State’s dependence on foreign supply chains, instead of working to bring those jobs back to the United States.

In contrast, both of their opponents, Kelly Loffler and David Perdue are sponsors of the National Right to Work Act. Perdue, a former CEO, bragged that he spent most of his career outsourcing jobs. “Defend it? I’m proud of it,” he said in a press stop at The White House restaurant in Buckhead. “This is a part of American business, part of any business. Outsourcing is the procurement of products and services to help your business run. People do that all day.”

Loeffler, whose husband is the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, also has a questionable business history. In late January, after receiving a closed-door COVID-19 briefing, she decided to dump between $1.2 and $3.1 million in stock. She then purchased stock in Citrix, which sells the video conferencing software GoToMeeting. Then in February, she bought stock in an online travel booking site only to drop it four days later, immediately before Trump announced a travel ban to Europe.

Both Ossoff and Warnock will need a lot of help to get elected. Although Biden won Georgia, both candidates trailed him in their total votes. Early voting begins on December 14th and residents of Georgia can register to vote in the election until December 7th. More information about voting can be found by clicking here.

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