Vice President Mike Pence hit the campaign trial Friday in Georgia, stumping with Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbents in the state’s twin Senate runoff elections, which will determine whether the GOP keeps its majority in the chamber.
In Canton, Ga., the first of two stops Pence and the two GOP senators made on a bus swing through the northern outreaches of a sprawling metropolitan Atlanta, the vice president announced that “I’m here because President Trump and I stand with Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.” And Pence repeatedly highlighted how Perdue and Loeffler have supported the president’s agenda.
But the vice president’s campaign stop in Georgia came as the state certified its presidential election results, which showed President-elect Biden winning the state by more than 12,000 votes over Trump, to become the first Democratic nominee to carry Georgia in more than a quarter century.
And Pence’s trip also comes as Trump refuses to concede to Biden, nearly two weeks after Fox News, the Associated Press and other news networks projected that Biden would win enough electoral votes to defeat Trump and become president-elect. Trump continues to hope that a spate of lawsuits he has filed, a couple of recounts in key states, or blocking some crucial states from certifying the vote, will reverse Biden’s victory.
This week the president has repeatedly tweeted that “I WON THE ELECTION,” and has continued to charge on Twitter that there was “VOTER FRAUD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!” On Friday he repeated his claim that he won the election.
The vice president’s language on Friday was much more careful.
He told the crowd of Republicans and Trump supporters “I’ll make you a promise – we’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted.” And minutes later he once again promised that “we’re going to stay in that fight.”
But he also appeared to hint at the all but certain outcome that the Trump presidency will end on January 20 with Biden’s inauguration, saying “whatever the outcome, we will never stop fighting to make America great again.” And he asked that “in the uncertain days ahead.. I’d encourage you to have faith. Have faith that this president will never stop fighting.”
The current balance of power for the next Senate coming out of this month’s elections is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means, Democrats must win both of Georgia’s runoff elections to make it a 50-50 Senate. If that occurs, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber.
In Georgia, where state law dictates a runoff if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, Perdue narrowly missed avoiding a runoff, winning 49.75% of the vote. Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff trails by roughly 87,000 votes.
In the other race, Loeffler captured nearly 26% of the vote in a whopping 20-candidate special election to fill the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock won nearly 33% of the vote.
The GOP’s Senate majority wouldn’t be on the line if Trump had won the election and Pence would remain as vice president. Even though he spotlighted that “our election contest continues, here in Georgia and in courts across the country,” the vice president emphasized that “the Republican Senate majority could be the last line of defense for all that we’ve done.”
“We need the great state of Georgia to defend the majority and the road to a Senate Republican majority goes straight through the state of Georgia,” he told the crowd.
Pence – who may have his own designs on the White House in 2024 – is the most high profile of a number of potential future Republican presidential contenders who’ve parachuted into Georgia the past week and a half, following Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
A Republican source close to the vice president’s orbit told Fox News on Thursday that plans are in the works for Pence to return to Georgia ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff elections.