In Georgia, Pence calls Senate GOP ‘last line of defense’

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at a Georgia Senate runoff campaign rally on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Back in Georgia to rally electoral support for the state’s two Republican senators, Vice President Mike Pence told voters in Augusta on Thursday that returning the incumbents to Washington would secure a GOP Senate and help preserve the successes of the Trump administration.

“We need to send them back because the Republican majority could be the last line of defense to preserve all we’ve done to defend this nation, revive our economy and preserve the God-given liberties we hold dear,” Pence told several hundred at an airport rally ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections.

The runoffs — which became necessary when no candidate received a majority of the votes in November — have put Georgia squarely in the national political spotlight, as they will determine the balance of power in Washington in 2021. Both major parties and activist groups are plowing tens of millions of dollars into the state ahead of Jan. 5, when David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler bid to hold off Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.

At the outdoor rally at Augusta’s airport, Pence portrayed Ossoff and Warnock as supporters of a “socialist” agenda who are “wrong for Georgia and wrong for America.”

“With the support of people all across this state, and with God’s help, we’re going to keep on winning,” Pence said. “We will win Georgia and save America.”

A flurry of top-flight surrogates — including Pence, who has now visited the state several times — underscores the stakes. Former president Barack Obama headlined a recent virtual rally for Democrats.

“Let them steal Georgia again, you’ll never be able to look yourself in the mirror,” Trump told rallygoers last week in Valdosta. 

“I want you to be confident about your vote,” Pence said. “We’re on them this time. We’re watching. We’re going to secure the polls. We’re going to secure the drop boxes, so get an absentee ballot and vote today, get it done.”

On Thursday, state GOP Chair David Shafer said “the fight for election integrity and the fight for David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler go hand in hand,” saying the Republican Party would “have eyes on every part of the process” for the Jan. 5 elections

Although she expressed belief that there had been some fraud in the presidential vote, businesswoman Lori Davis was definitely planning to vote in the Senate elections, saying she didn’t agree with any argument for skipping the vote over security concerns.

“That’s just not Georgia to me,” said Davis, 57, who helped run her late husband’s medical business. “”David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are businessmen and women, and I love that.”