The two U.S. Senate runoff elections that will be held in Georgia Tuesday will determine whether the Senate will work in partnership with President-elect Joe Biden to build a better future for Americans, or whether Republican obstructionists who put politics ahead of patriotism will be empowered to do everything possible to oppose our new president.

Georgia is a formerly red state that turned semi-blue in November, when a majority of voters wisely cast their ballots for former Vice President Biden.

And yes, despite President Trump’s baseless claims that he actually won in the state, recounts have proven beyond any doubt that Biden carried Georgia. Trump now makes the ridiculous and delusional claim that the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state are part an imaginary plot that deprived him of a victory.

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It’s in the national interest for Georgia voters to follow up on their support for President-elect Biden by voting Tuesday to elect Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate. Both men are highly qualified. Their election will give Biden the Democratic majority he needs in the Senate to repair the enormous damage Trump has caused to our nation in the past four years.

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The incoming administration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris needs a Senate willing to work with them to fully and effectively respond to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis, systemic racism in our nation’s law enforcement, the existential threat of climate change, and other important challenges our nation faces.

Unfortunately and disgracefully, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made it clear that he will block, stonewall and try to derail every action by the Biden administration.

Recall that McConnell famously stated in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

So McConnell’s goal 10 years ago — in his own words — was not to serve the American people. Not to create jobs, improve health care, strengthen education, protect national security, or fight for equal rights. No, he admitted that his top priority was to do everything humanly possible to hurt President Obama’s reelection prospects, regardless of the harm inflicted on the American people. You can bet every penny you have that McConell feels the same way about our incoming president.  

Raphael Warnock (left) and Jon Ossoff (right) are the Democratic candidates in the Senate runoff elections in Georgia.  (Getty Images // AP)

The best way to stop McConnell is to elect Ossoff and Warnock to give Democrats 50 Senate seats — creating a tie with the 50 Republican senators. Vice President Harris will cast the tie-breaking vote to give Democrats majority control of the Senate.

Taking a page from Trump’s angry and divisive playbook filled with a mountain of lies, Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler (running against Warnock) and David Perdue (running against Ossoff) have gone on the attack and have falsely and ridiculously labeled their respective Democratic challengers as “radical socialists.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Trump’s hysterical “radical socialist” rants clearly did not resonate with the majority of the voting public in Georgia or across the United States in the November election, and I don’t think this nonsense will work for the runoffs in Georgia.  

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., clasp hands during a campaign rally, Dec. 21, 2020, in Milton, Ga.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The truth is that Warnock and Ossoff are mainstream candidates dedicated to public service, and they echo President-elect Biden’s hopeful unifying message. They are laser-focused on the facts, the issues, and the values that matter to suffering Georgians in these perilous times.

Warnock, the only Black candidate in the Tuesday runoff, is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

The demonization of this pastor who now preaches in Dr. King’s church is part of a long and disgraceful history in Georgia of hostility to its Black residents. In fact, Georgia has never elected a single Black U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, or secretary of state. And yet the Census Bureau estimates that 32% of the state’s population is Black.

Warnock rose in Georgia politics through his vocal leadership of the campaign to expand Medicaid for low-income residents of the state. He supports increased COVID-19 relief funding, expanding the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, also known as ObamaCare), and passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Warnock has been endorsed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter (a fellow Georgian) and Obama, and by former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. Warnock is also backed by former Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia and Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams of Fair Fight, a national voting rights organization rooted in Georgia.

Ossoff is a Georgia native, media executive, investigative journalist, and small-business owner. He also previously worked as a national security aide for Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., handling defense, foreign affairs, intelligence, and economic policy issues.

Like Warnock, Ossoff supports strengthening the ACA, increased COVID-19 relief, criminal justice reform, and lower taxes for working families and small businesses in Georgia.

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Loeffler and Perdue, on the other hand, have hitched their wagons to a lame-duck president and have repeatedly refused to even acknowledge President-elect Biden’s victory. They agree with anything Trump says, even if that requires them to flip-flop on their positions on issues. They act as if they are running to be selected by Trump to be his employees on “The Apprentice,” rather than to represent the people of Georgia in the Senate.

Loeffler and Perdue were both against additional $2,000 COVID-19 economic stimulus checks before they were for the checks (but only after Trump’s belated tweet storm). They have both questioned the integrity of the November election and even demanded the resignation of a fellow Republican, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Truth be told, Loeffler and Perdue — not Warnock and Ossoff — are the radical candidates running in Georgia. The Republican candidates are out-of-touch with Georgia voters and values and reject their Senate oath of office, which pledges them to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Their only loyalty is to Donald Trump and to their own self-interest.   

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I implore Georgians to turn history on its head and to get out the vote for Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on Tuesday. Record numbers of early votes are a good sign for the two Democrats, but the election will be close and now they need as many supporters as possible to vote Tuesday.

All eyes are on you, Georgia. The health, safety and security of the American people are at stake.

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