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Why Warnock-Walker runoff for Georgia Senate still matters

Even though control of the Senate has already been decided, there is still a lot at stake
Election 2022 Senate Georgia
Posted at 2:00 AM, Dec 01, 2022

WASHINGTON — You may think the midterms are over, but based on the campaign spending in Georgia, you wouldn't know it.

More than $50 million has been spent by both major parties on next Tuesday's runoff election in Georgia, even though control of the Senate has already been decided.

Former President Barack Obama will campaign there Thursday.

So why is so much money being spent, and why should you pay attention to the result even though you don't live there?

BALANCE OF POWER

One of the biggest reasons to care about the Georgia runoff is the balance of power in the Senate.

If Republicans win, the Senate will be 50-50.

If Democrats win, the Senate would be 51-49.

That may not sound like such a big deal, especially since Democrats will control the chamber regardless, but it is.

In a 50-50 senate, the vice president breaks ties, which often means every Democratic senator needs to support something to pass it.

That's why you heard a lot about Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia these past few years.

For instance, the expanded child tax credit was blocked, in part, because of his objections.

If Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock wins reelection in Georgia, Manchin won't be as influential.

If Republican candidate Hershel Walker wins, Republicans, in many instances, will be able to alter President Joe Biden's agenda because the chamber is split 50-50.

COMMITTEES

In a 50-50 senate, committees must share power.

If Democrats win in Georgia, they'll be in charge of all committees in the Senate.

No power-sharing agreement will be in place.

That means if Democrats win, they'll have more power to investigate whatever they want.

If Republicans win, they'll get a say on what investigations or hearings happen.

THE COURTS

When a Supreme Court vacancy opened up last year, Biden was able to get his pick confirmed in a divided 50-50 Senate.

However, 50-50 splits have historically made other confirmations more difficult.

A Republican victory in Georgia would make it easier for Republicans to potentially block Biden's nominees if they can get one Democrat to side with them.

2024 AND BEYOND

While 2024 may be two years away, it's one in which Republicans already have an advantage.

Democratic senators are up for reelection in conservative-leaning states like West Virginia, Ohio, and Montana.

The map favors conservatives considerably compared with 2022.

Whoever wins in Georgia will serve for six years, impacting the balance of power for years to come.

Not to mention, the Georgia runoff will indirectly impact former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Walker in the primary.

A win will give the former president momentum as he begins his 2024 presidential campaign.

A loss could hurt his political influence.