Georgia’s Senate Runoff Could Be a Billion-Dollar Windfall for Local TV

Record levels of spending are expected with control of the Senate at stake

For most Americans, not including President Donald Trump, the 2020 election is in the rear-view mirror, with Joe Biden set to assume the presidency in January. But not in Georgia, where a pair of Senate runoff elections is giving local TV stations an early Christmas present in the form of a tidal wave of political advertising dollars over the next two months that figures to be around half a billion.

While Georgia has seen record-breaking down-ballot campaign spending in prior years, there is nothing that matches the intrigue and importance this time around. On Jan. 5, Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue will try to maintain their seats against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Neither candidate garnered 50% of the vote, triggering the runoff. If Democrats win both of those seats, they would deadlock the Senate with Republicans, with each party holding 50 seats. Since the vice president is the tiebreaking vote, that means the Democrats would hold control once Kamala Harris is sworn in, to go along with their majority in the House of Representatives.

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Tim Baysinger

TV reporter • • Twitter: @tim_bays