Political science professor weighs in on Senate runoffs

Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 4:34 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There are three runoffs on Tuesday’s ballot -- two Senate seats and one for public service commissioner.

The Senate seats are the big ticket items when it comes to the balance of power in D.C.

Historically, fewer people participate in runoffs than general elections. However, this year more people are casting their ballots than any other runoff race in history.

All eyes are on Georgia as control of the United States Senate is left to Peach State voters. If one Republican wins, the GOP maintains control. If Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock beat incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, control yields to the Democrats with the new vice president voting as tie-breaker.

“That’s going to determine what legislation the Senate actually considers,” said Dr. Jacob Holt, Columbus State University political science professor. “Now, it’s true the Senate majority power is not as strong as the House, the minority party does have some cards it can play, but giving control to the Democrats would be really helpful for Joe Biden’s administration.”

Holt said it’s not uncommon to have one party with executive and legislative control. He said what is new is the level of participation thus far in the runoffs. There’s usually a steep drop-off after the general election.

“I’d say we’re going to end up with 3.8 to 4 million votes, which we had approximately 5 million votes in the last election. So, that’s still going to be a significant drop-off. However, there’s a good chance we’ll have more people vote in this election than voted in the governor’s race of 2018,” Holt said.

Even though millions have already cast their ballots, here is a final plea from political parties in Columbus to get out and vote.

“Every Republican who has ever voted in Muscogee County needs to turn out and vote tomorrow if they have not already,” said Alton Russell. “Every vote does count, every vote is important, and if you don’t vote, I guarantee you your vote won’t count. "

“So, come out of the house,” said Tonza Thomas. “If you have not voted or submitted an absentee ballot, come out and show up at the polls tomorrow.”

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