Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rallied voters in Georgia on Tuesday, urging people to bring “your brother, your sister, your mom, your dad, your neighbour, your friends” and “drop them off at the ballot box” to help turn the state blue this November.
Mr Biden, who is virtually tied with Donald Trump in recent polls in Georgia, a state no Democrat has won since Bill Clinton in 1992, has his eyes on another prize besides the presidency: Democratic control of the Senate.
“I can't tell you how important it is that we flip the United States Senate,” Mr Biden said. “There's no state more consequential than Georgia in that fight. You have two competitive races here at stake. You have two great candidates who are going to need all the support they can get,” he said, referring to Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Both of the Peach State’s Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, are in tight races this fall for re-election (or just election, in the case of Ms Loeffler, who was appointed to her post last year by Governor Brian Kemp).
Mr Perdue is facing Mr Ossoff in a head-to-head battle, while Mr Warnock is facing Ms Loeffler and Republican Congressman Doug Collins in a special election to replace retired Senator Johnny Isakson, who left office for health reasons last year. If none of Mr Warnock, Ms Loeffler, or Mr Collins receives 50 per cent of the vote in that race, it will go to a runoff between the top two candidates.
“Let's give the people of Georgia two new senators who will fight for your interests, not for Donald Trump's interests, not continue as Perdue and others have to make fun of my running mate,” Mr Biden said on Tuesady, referring to the senior Georgia senator’s comments at a recent rally where he appeared to purposely mispronounce California Senator Kamala Harris’ name.
“I love how these guys try to degrade everything and everybody. It's got to stop. It's gonna stop with us. Folks, it’s go time. There's one week left,” Mr Biden said.
The former vice president proudly acknowledged at his drive-in rally in Atlanta on Tuesday that most elections experts did not expect Georgia to be in play for Democrats this cycle.
But changing demographics and suburban women’s increasing dissatisfaction with the Trump administration have shifted the state’s politics dramatically since the president beat Hillary Clinton by 5 percentage points there in 2016.
“You know, there aren’t a lot of pundits who would have guessed four years ago that a Democratic candidate for president in 2020 would be campaigning in Georgia in the final week of the election,” Mr Biden said on Tuesday.
“Or that we’d have such competitive Senate races in Georgia. But we do!” he said, prompting a fresh burst of honks from rally-goers listening from their cars.