BOSTON -- The fight for control of the U.S. Senate has come down to a pair of races in Georgia, and it's all hands on deck for the two major parties who are expected to pour big money and resources into the runoff campaigns.
In January, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue will again face Democrat Jon Ossoff, while GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock will go toe-to-toe again in a race to serve out the term of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Neither race yielded a winner in the Nov. 3. election because no candidate topped 50% of the vote. Under Georgia law, that forces the top two finishers into a run-off election. Both are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5.
In Massachusetts, Democrats and Republicans are raising money and enlisting volunteers.
"The radical left is going to pour EVERYTHING they have into the Senate runoff in Georgia," MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyon's wife, Bernadette, wrote in an email fundraising blast. "If the Democrats get total control in Washington, there will be nothing we can do to stop them from packing the Supreme Court, implementing the Green New Deal, ending our energy independence, and more!"
Not to be outdone, the state's Democratic Party is putting out a call for volunteers to help campaign for the Democratic challengers in Georgia and "flip the Senate."
"Massachusetts Democrats don’t sit on the sidelines when the stakes are this high, help Democrats in Georgia today," Gus Bickford, chairman of the state party, said in an email pitch. "These races will be close, and we need your help."
Meanwhile, Democrats in Georgia are trying to discourage fellow party members from other states to trekking to the Peach State to campaign, as Republicans seek to rally their base with claims that 'outsiders' are trying to influence the outcome of the race.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been urged by Georgia GOP officials to tighten residency requirements on new arrivals moving to the state and registering to vote ahead of the runoff election, according to published news reports.
The runoff elections are key to control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans retained 50 seats in the Senate in the Nov. 3 elections, which means Democrats need to win both Georgia seats to flip the upper chamber.
That outcome would result in a 50/50 split of the Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would have the tie-breaking vote, thus giving a Democrats a de facto majority.
Democrats retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in this month's elections, although their margin narrowed.
Georgia hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1996, but polls show both races have tightened.
Political observers say billion of dollars could flow into the state by way of political advertising, polling and get out the vote efforts over the next eight weeks.
Deep-blue Massachusetts wasn't considered a battleground in the recent presidential election, but the campaigns were still able to raise huge sums of money from the state.
It was the fifth-largest contributor to the presidential campaigns behind California, New York, Texas and Florida.
The state's politically active pumped more than $54 million into the election, according to preliminary Federal Election Commission data.
Those totals don't factor donations to independent committees and groups, which work separately from campaigns and pour millions of dollars into advertising.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org