ATLANTA — Vice President Mike Pence was in Georgia Friday for a bus tour in support of Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The Republican incumbent senators are facing off in a Jan. 5 runoff against Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
The outcome of those races will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate and both sides are pulling out the stops to win.
Pence’s visit happened on the same day that Georgia certified its election results, verifying President-elect Joe Biden won the state.
Pence arrived just before noon at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Cobb County and headed to Canton for the first of two “Defend the Majority” rallies in Canton.
“I’m here because I stand with President Donald Trump,” Pence told the crowd. “The road to a Senate Republican majority goes right through the state of Georgia.”
Even with the crowd chanting “stop the steal” the vice president didn’t mention much about the presidential election or their plans to fight the outcome in court.
He only promised the fight would continue.
“I can tell you as our election contest continues here in Georgia and in courts across the country, I’ll make you a promise. We’re going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We’re going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out,” Pence said.
So far, the Trump campaign hasn’t shown any evidence of widespread voter irregularities in the state of Georgia. Elections officials also maintain there has been no evidence of fraud anywhere in the state.
Pence held another rally in Gainesville early Friday evening before returning to Dobbins to head back to Washington, D.C.
The vice president’s trip highlights a critical juncture both for the Republican Party and for Pence, as the vice president tries to balance his own political future with his loyalties to a president who has yet to concede defeat.
While Pence has joined President Donald Trump in not yet conceding to Biden, the vice president held fast to more careful language than the president’s repeated and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.
Republicans have already won 50 Senate seats for the new Congress, and need one more for control. A Democratic sweep of the Georgia runoffs would yield a 50-50 Senate, setting up Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote to tilt the chamber to Democrats.
With some irony, Republicans’ chief argument in the runoff contest has been to warn against giving Democrats complete control of Washington, a position that tacitly acknowledges that Trump has lost and that Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
Perdue led Ossoff in the general election but narrowly missed the majority that Georgia law requires to win statewide elections. Warnock and Loeffler were the top finishers in an all-party special election to fill the final two years of former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to the post after Isakson announced his retirement last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
© 2020 Cox Media Group