California Democrats Moving To Georgia To Campaign And Vote For Senate Candidates

AP Photo/John Bazemore

 

The Democrats are serious about winning the Senate. In fact, they are so serious about it that California Democrats are turning out in droves to help their candidates win the runoff elections. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “California Democrats are peppering political organizers with questions about how to travel to Georgia to volunteer for Democrat Jon Ossoff in his race against Republican Sen. David Perdue and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in his contest against GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Both seats went to a Jan. 5 runoff when no candidate won a majority in this month’s elections.”

California resident Joseph Killian told the Chronicle that he wishes to move to Georgia to volunteer for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, who are hoping to unseat the state’s Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. 

“I can’t just sit home and raise money,” Killian said. “When you look at some of those races where (we donated and) we didn’t win, this is our chance to hopefully go there and fix that. We want to be there and help.”

Killian and his friends donated $50,000 to several different candidates, all of whom lost their races. But many other Californians are considering taking similar action.

“My phone has been blowing up every 20 minutes,” said Manny Yekutiel, owner of Manny’s, a civic engagement space in San Francisco’s Mission District. He is planning to return to Georgia after having volunteered there in the fall. “People are asking me, ‘When do I move to Georgia? Where can I stay? Should I get a block of hotel rooms?’”

These individuals are looking to join up with the grassroots network of organizations that former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams created. This year, it registered 800,000 Georgia residents to vote in the 2020 election. 

The Chronicle notes that the Democrats’ chances of winning the senatorial elections are slim. “Winning a Senate seat in the state would also be a major accomplishment for Democrats — they haven’t done that since 2000. Turnout typically drops off precipitously in runoff elections, and Democrats tend to shed more voters than Republicans,” they observed, also noting that “it may be harder for Democrats to rally their voters when President Trump won’t be on the ballot.” 

But this has not deterred Democrats, especially those residing in other states. Indeed, most of the donations for the Democratic candidates are coming from outside Georgia. 

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Nearly 80% of the money raised in the fall campaign for Warnock, the Democrat running against Loeffler, came from outside Georgia. More than 83% of Ossoff’s funding for his race against GOP Sen. Perdue came from outside the state. San Francisco was the No. 3 metro area in the county for donations for both Democrats.”

Republicans are using the two Democratic candidates’ outside support against them. Perdue referred to Ossoff as “a puppet of the left.” Loeffler’s campaign put out an ad calling Warnock “a radical’s radical,.” 

This particular messaging strategy worked remarkably well against Ossoff, who lost a special congressional race in 2017 after his opponent connected him to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. An ad campaign painted him as “San Francisco’s congressman.” Interestingly enough, it was the same strategy used against Beto O’ Rourke in Texas’ midterm elections. 

Jesse Hunt, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Chronicle: “I’ll point to the last time that Jon Ossoff was running for office and received a lot of organizing help from California — it didn’t end well for him.” He continued, “These progressive activists who want to come to Georgia, their values are very different from the people in Georgia who will be voting.”

On the other hand, Democrats are working overtime to get their people elected. Several leftist organizations are leveraging volunteers to get people out to vote. 

From the Chronicle:

“At Flip the West, which works to unseat Republicans, more than 7,500 phone bank shifts for making calls to Georgia have already been filled. More than 16,000 volunteers have signed up to send postcards to Georgia voters reminding them to request an absentee ballot and send it in.

‘That is unprecedented for us,” said Flip the West’s Berkeley-based executive director, Ronnie Cohen. ‘Often you have to nudge people to phone bank. It just shows the passion people have for this.’”

Some Californians are not just planning to travel to Georgia only for the campaign. They are moving to the state to vote for both Democratic candidates. Several high-profile progressives, including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, have suggested moving to Georgia temporarily to cast votes for the Democratic candidates. In an appearance on CNN, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman said that he hopes “everybody moves to Georgia in the next month or two and registers to vote and votes for these two Democratic senators.” 

However, according to Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, such a move would be illegal. During a Thursday press conference, he explained how state law works regarding its elections. “In order to be able to register to vote in Georgia, you have to be a Georgia resident,” he said. “That means you have to believe you are staying in Georgia.”

“Don’t game our system,” he said. According to Fox News, “Those who try to vote in Georgia while merely visiting the state may face felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.”

Democrats must win both of Georgia’s senatorial seats to create a 50/50 split in the Senate. In case of a tie, this would mean that the vice president could make the tiebreaking vote. If the courts decide that Biden is the winner of the presidential election, this would mean that Kamala Harris would be in this position. 

If Biden secures victory and the Democrats manage to defeat both Republican incumbents in Georgia, it would mean that the left could enact its agenda without opposition. Controlling both chambers of Congress and the presidency would be dangerous for the conservative movement and the nation as a whole. For this reason, all eyes should be on Georgia at the moment. 

 

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