With Republicans currently having a 50-48 edge in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats are pulling out all the stops in an effort to defeat incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the two January 5th Senate runoff races in Georgia.
Should Democrat nominees Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock win their races, it would mean a 50-50 split in the Senate, which would make Kamala Harris (assuming the Biden-Harris ticket are certified the winners next month) the “tiebreaker” in instances where the Senate votes 50-50 on something.
It would also make current Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) the Senate Majority Leader – assuming he’s who Senate Democrats decide to put in that position if things go their way in the Georgia races.
So with that in mind, it was interesting to hear Warnock tell CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview on Sunday that Schumer was “not on the ballot” in his race against Loeffler:
The high-profile Senate runoff in Georgia slated for January is “about the people of Georgia” and not the fight to control the Senate, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock said Sunday.
“This race is not about me,” Warnock said on CNN’s “State of the Union. “Chuck Schumer’s name is certainly not on the ballot.”
“I will tell you what is on the ballot,” he went on. “Health care is on the ballot — access to affordable health care. We have got 500,000 Georgians in the Medicaid gap. We have got 1.8 million Georgians with preexisting conditions.”
“I know personally the importance of good federal policy, combined with personal responsibility, work, grit, and determination … This race is about the people of Georgia.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 15, 2020
The Politico article went on to note that both Warnock and Ossoff are trying to “redirect focus from the national stage to Georgia voters and their health care.” It’s understandable why they’d want to distance themselves from a radical, entrenched leftist like Schumer but the problem is that it’s impossible to do so.
Just as Democrats including Schumer did in the run-up to November’s elections, Democrats who were running for election or reelection to the Senate made Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as much their opponent as their actual in-state opponents were, whether they pointed it out in interviews, speeches, or campaign ads.
In fact, whether or not control of the House and/or Senate is on the line, it’s standard operating procedure for candidates for those offices to tie their opponents to party leaders, as Republicans did with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and as Senate Democrats have done with McConnell over the years.
Not only that, but Schumer made himself the face of the Georgia Democrat Senate campaigns with his accidental admission on how “Now we take Georgia, then we change America!” during a street “victory” party for the Biden-Harris campaign in NYC a few days after the election. Here’s a video clip of Schumer’s comments for anyone who missed them:
Chuck Schumer at NYC celebration:
"Now we take Georgia and then we change America" pic.twitter.com/uIoy1NRR62
— Status Coup (@StatusCoup) November 7, 2020
Schumer’s comments, which the NRSC are already referencing in campaign ads, are likely to have a galvanizing effect on Republicans who are unhappy with what’s taken place in the presidential race in their state, including in the recount process.
Warnock, who has myriad other issues to contend with in addition to being tied to Schumer, is only technically right here. Schumer is not literally on the ballot. But the possibility of Schumer leading the Senate after possible Warnock and Ossoff victories in the January runoffs effectively makes Schumer and control of the U.S. Senate and all that comes with it a big f***in’ deal, as Joe Biden would say.
They can certainly try to run from Schumer, but neither Rev. Warnock nor Ossoff will be able to hide from him for the remainder of their respective campaigns. Nor should they be able to. There is too much at stake here – judicial confirmations being among them – to pretend otherwise.