With early voting underway, Georgia runoff heats up

Georgia 2022 midterm election

(NewsNation) — All eyes are on Georgia as early voting has begun in a runoff race that will determine how much of a majority the Democrats hold in the Senate.

A state appeals court ruled early voting could start as soon as Nov. 26. Both Democrats and Republicans are focused on getting out the vote for the race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, where a short voting window could suppress turnout.

The runoff election will be held on Dec. 6, since neither candidate earned a majority of votes in the midterm election. In Georgia, a candidate must win more than half the votes to secure a victory.

Millions of dollars have been spent on the Georgia race. A recent ad from Warnock showed him walking a dog and comparing Walker’s ads to a bag he throws in the trash. Walker released an ad featuring a college swimmer who played into recent concerns about transgender rights.

Democrats are already projected to hold a majority in the Senate, but if Warnock wins, it will give them a 51-seat majority. If they lose, the two parties will split the Senate 50/50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaker once again.

An outright majority would give Democrats a significant advantage. Leader Chuck Schumer would no longer have to share power with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has used that leverage to thwart Democratic goals such as eliminating the filibuster.

Should they win an outright 51-seat majority, Democrats would likely hold an extra seat on every committee, making it much easier to move nominees or legislation along party-line votes.

It would also give the Democrats more wiggle room when it comes to lawmakers who use their vote to stall legislation from their own party, notably Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

It would also mean Harris no longer has to babysit Congress in her role as tie-breaker.

The need to break tie votes requires Harris to keep close to Washington. A 51st vote would free up the vice president somewhat, allowing her to be out of town when the Senate is holding important votes.

Meanwhile, Republicans are projected to control the House with a narrow majority. Decision Desk Headquarters currently shows four House races that remain undecided.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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