Campaigns in Georgia’s two Senate runoff races have spent over $272 million advertising since Election Day, according to an AdAge analysis.
Incumbent GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have reserved $168.5 million worth of ads up to the Jan. 5 runoff, while their respective Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, have collectively reserved $102.5 million, the analysis shows. The sums do not include outside spending that has flooded the two races, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The record ad spending reflects the extraordinarily high stakes that both races represent. If Democrats manage to flip both seats, they would have the narrowest of Senate majorities, possibly allowing President-elect Joe Biden to pursue more liberal policies.
As a result, the two statewide races have attracted national attention. Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and more have campaigned alongside Perdue and Loeffler in recent days, and approximately one-third of the GOP ad spending so far has come from groups affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the AJC reported.
Democrats have welcomed outside spending as well, fueled in part by Stacey Abrams’ national fundraising network.
Georgia is the only state in the country where state law requires statewide races to advance to runoffs if no candidate clears 50% after all the votes are counted. While Perdue received 49.7% of the vote, Loeffler, whose race featured numerous candidates, only received 25.9%.
Ossoff and Warnock received 47.9% and 32.9%, respectively.
Republicans have been overwhelmingly successful in past Georgia statewide races, winning 24 of the past 27. Democrats are hoping to build off their momentum from Biden’s narrow victory in the state, but if each party’s coalitions remain unchanged from past races, then Democrats could be at a disadvantage again.
“The race will likely come down to who has more low propensity voters,” political forecaster Dave Wasserman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Historically, it’s non-white, young [Democratic] voters who drop off, so going by history the runoff ought to favor the GOP,” he added.
The state’s Democratic coalition was historically made up of whites without college degrees and black voters, but Democrats have made strong gains among suburban voters with college degrees, who tend to be more frequent voters.
In two races that could come down to which side has greater turnout, Democrats could now benefit from a more energized and engaged base, argued political analyst Sean Trende.
“Republicans may find their turnout efforts hamstrung if whites with college degrees in metro Atlanta turn out in force — as they have in past runoffs — but instead vote Democratic this time,” Trende said.
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