By Zachary Stieber
Vice President Mike Pence will campaign in Georgia with Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) as they try to convince voters to choose them in upcoming runoff elections.
Pence’s office said he will take part in a bus tour of Georgia that includes rallies in Canton and Gainesville.
The rallies are described as efforts to “defend the majority,” referring to the Senate majority.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the current Senate but lost at least one seat in the Nov. 3 election.
With control of the Georgia seats unclear, Republicans have 50 Senate seats to Democrats’ 48 in the next Congress. Whichever party wins the White House would control a deadlocked Senate because vice presidents can cast tiebreaking votes.
Both Loeffler and Perdue failed to clear the threshold of a majority of votes in their races.
Loeffler was part of a so-called jungle election that had voters choose between 21 candidates. She emerged in second place, just behind Democratic pastor Raphael Warnock. The special election took place because Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) retired in the middle of his term due to health issues. Loeffler was appointed to replace him.
Perdue beat filmmaker Jon Ossoff by over 86,000 votes but came just shy of the threshold.
The runoffs will take place on Jan. 5, 2021.
Georgia hasn’t elected a Democratic U.S. senator since 1996.
Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) was beaten during the next election by Saxby Chambliss.
Pence’s Georgia trip will be the first time the White House joins the fight to control the Senate.
President Donald Trump endorsed the senators this week.
“I strongly stand with Kelly & David. They are both great and MUST WIN!” he wrote in a tweet.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden may travel to the Peach State to campaign for Warnock and Ossoff, his chief of staff, Ron Klain, said over the weekend.
“We’re going to work hard to help win those Senate seats in Georgia. I think you’ll see the president-elect campaign down there as we get closer to election day. We’re going to put people, money, resources down there to help our two good candidates win,” Klain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Biden has claimed victory in the election but Trump and his campaign have filed a number of lawsuits and numerous irregularities have cropped up, including some 2,600 uncounted ballots being found in a Georgia county on Monday.
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