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. Republicans currently hold a 50–48 edge in the Senate.
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.
Loeffler and Perdue rallied Saturday in Valdosta with President Donald Trump, who came to the state to support the candidates.
Many Republican voters have concerns about the integrity of the election process though.
Georgia’s Republican House Majority Leader Jon Burns and others are calling on the secretary of state’s office to review the absentee ballot process ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff for the two Senate seats.
Burns submitted a letter (pdf) signed by over 100 state House members to encourage Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to ensure that Georgia voters “have confidence” in the state’s election process ahead of the runoff, after conflicting statements issued by Raffensberger’s office and Fulton County officials since the Nov. 3 election.
Last week, the Georgia Legislature saw a surveillance video presented by 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 Raffensperger should explain what happened, describing the footage as “concerning.” Raffensberger later called on the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to assist in probing the allegations.
The Associated Press and The Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report