With Donald Trump’s hopes of holding onto the presidency fading, all eyes are now turning to two crucial run-off elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate.
But Republicans are terrified that disgruntled Trump voters, unable to move on from his election loss, will punish the two incumbents by staying home on January 5 – handing the Senate back to Democrats.
“I’m seeing a lot of talk from people that are supposed to be on our side telling GOP voters not to go out and vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue,” Donald Trump Jr tweeted this week.
“That is NONSENSE. IGNORE those people. We need ALL of our people coming out to vote for Kelly and David.”
The current balance of the Senate is 50 Republicans to 48 Democrats, meaning if the two Republicans lose their races, it would become a 50-50 split with vice president-elect Kamala Harris as the tie breaker – giving Democrats a one-vote majority.
At an election victory celebration on the streets of New York earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a cheering crowd, “Now we take Georgia, then we change the world! Now we take Georgia, then we change America!”
A staggering $US200 million ($A272 million) is expected to be spent by both parties on political advertising for the race, Politico reports.
Mr Perdue is going up against Jon Ossoff, after neither candidate was able to reach the 50 per cent threshold required by state law to declare a winner at the November 3 election – the Republican was just shy, leading Mr Ossoff by 49.7 per cent to 48 per cent.
Ms Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after Senator Johnny Isakson retired last year due to illness, is facing off against Reverend Raphael Warnock, a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
She trailed Rev Warnock in their special election match-up – which featured a whopping 20 candidates – receiving 25.9 per cent of the vote to his 32.9 per cent.
Vice President Mike Pence has been campaigning in Georgia with the candidates, but Mr Trump has kept notably quiet on the run-off races, instead continuing to rage at Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp over the election results.
The closest he has come to supporting his party’s candidates in the race is retweeting a post by Senator Lindsey Gr