America awaits election result that holds the key to the Senate

If the election fever was a little low-key at the Dunbar Neighbourhood Center polling station in Atlanta, the anticipation about what it might mean was palpable.

The steady flow of voters in the winter sunshine were the players in a drama that could signal a major shift in American politics.

If Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock can unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the party will take effective control of the US Senate.

Democrat Jon Ossof speaks to reporters as voting took place
Image:Democrat Jon Ossof speaks to reporters as voting takes place

In Georgia, a place once so reliably Republican red but which went blue for Joe Biden in November, it will have completed remarkable political shift.

Mr Ossoff came to greet voters at the Dunbar Center but had to abandon his attempts because of the crush of news crews. It is a measure of the interest in this run-off election.

The 33-year-old documentary maker, who would be the youngest US Senator for 40 years, told Sky News: “We’re on the cusp of a historic victory in Georgia. We’re on the cusp of delivering for the people of Georgia and the American people.”

In big cities like Atlanta, the Democrat drive to increase turnout among a younger, more diverse electorate has paid off. The mood of change was reflected by voters.

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Shanna Green said: “To everyone I have in my life it is about pushing forward to having happier times, not necessarily getting back to normal because normal wasn’t the best before, but hopefully moving to a better place.”

Another voter, Tiffany Lay, said: “All of the riots and the picketing and all the stuff about the police force, all of that played a big part in Georgia turning blue.”

If Georgia votes Democrat in the Senate run-off, it will be a major shift in US politics
Image:If Georgia votes Democrat in the Senate run-off, it will be a major shift in US politics

Voter Leonard Cherry undoubtedly spoke for many Americans in saying: “The purpose for me was to vote so we can now put our differences aside and come together as a nation.

“If we have the right people in office with a right temperament we could come back together. But it’s not something that happens overnight.”

But large parts of Georgia remain staunchly Republican and that means victory for Democrats, which the polls show is possible, would be especially significant.

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The tension Republicans have faced in whether to align themselves too closely to a defeated Donald Trump has been a factor in this campaign.

His complaints about the electoral process – including during a rally in Georgia on Monday – have done little to enthuse the voters Republicans need to turn out.

Election fever may have been low key - but anticipation was palpable
Image:Election fever may have been low key – but anticipation was palpable

Political strategist Fred Hicks said: “Republicans are looking at it and saying November 3 was a rebuke of Donald Trump but we as Republicans did just fine.

“If this election goes in favour of the Democrats, even with just one seat, that is a huge statement and huge issue for Republicans.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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