Biden and Harris to campaign in Georgia in early January

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris face reporters to speak about health care and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) during a brief news conference at the theater serving as his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will travel to Georgia early next month to campaign for Democratic candidates in runoff elections that could determine who controls the U.S. Senate and the fate of the incoming administration’s legislative agenda.

A statement from their transition team on Wednesday said Harris will travel to Savannah on Jan. 3 to campaign on behalf of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the Jan. 5 runoffs. Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, will go to Atlanta the following day.

If the Democrats win both seats, the Senate would be split 50-50 with the Republican Party, giving the tie-breaking vote to Harris and control of both congressional chambers to the Democratic Party.

According to data published last week, nearly 2.1 million people had already cast ballots in the runoffs, which pit Warnock and Ossoff against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively.

If the Republicans win one or both of the Georgia seats, they will retain a slim majority in the chamber and can block Biden’s legislative goals and judicial nominees.

Biden was in Georgia last month and gave a speech urging voters there to oust Republican Senator Mitch McConnell as majority leader by electing the two Democratic candidates.

McConnell is at the center of a dispute over President Donald Trump’s call for an increase in congressionally mandated COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000 from $600.

Democrats believe their support for the $2,000 checks will help them in Georgia.

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