Wild Week in Politics Kicks Off 2021 With Battles Over the Georgia Senate Runoff, Electoral College Certification

Both Biden and President Trump each will make one final in-person pitch in Georgia’s Senate race Monday ahead of the runoff elections on Tuesday.

After a tumultuous 2020 that tested both our spirit and reserve perhaps you were hoping for a calmer, quieter start to the new year.

2021 has other plans.

The "fun" begins on Tuesday, with two runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the Senate. President-elect Joe Biden's ability to easily set up his Cabinet and enact a legislative agenda hinges on Democrats capturing both seats.

Biden and his team have steered at least $18 million to help Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock try to unseat Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Biden’s campaign manager and incoming White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon confirmed the figures Saturday ahead of upcoming visits to the state by both Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The money includes about $6 million in staff and voter data support and $12 million in fundraising for the two campaigns.  

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Both Biden and President Trump each will make one final in-person pitch in Georgia’s Senate race Monday ahead of the runoff elections on Tuesday.

Trump's appearance comes a day after audio of an hour-long phone call between Trump and Georgia's secretary of state surfaced in which he cajoled the official to overturn his state's election results, which showed Biden winning by just under 12,000 votes.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," Trump is heard saying on the recording. "Because we won the state."

A few Republicans condemned Trump's actions, while at least one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, urged a criminal investigation. Legal experts said Trump's behavior raised questions about possible election law violations.

After Georgia, the focus shifts to Washington on Wednesday, where Congress is set to certify Biden's victory in the Electoral College. What has typically been a procedural afterthought is now a battle as some Republicans, eager to satisfy Trump's most loyal supporters, say they won't certify the results of a free and fair election.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced a coalition of 11 senators and senators-elect who will join an effort to attempt to thwart the Electoral College certification, saying they’ll vote against certain state electors unless Congress appoints a commission to immediately audit the election results. This group joins a number of House Republicans who have already pledged similar.

Wednesday's congressional count is the final step in reaffirming Biden’s win, after the Electoral College officially elected him 306-232 last month. That's the same margin Trump won by in 2016.

Republicans won't succeed in blocking the results. Challenges would have to be passed by the full Senate and Democrat-controlled House.

Trump has also suggested he may make some type of appearance at demonstrations expected in Washington on Wednesday. Some of the protesters who have indicated they will be in the city have ties to white supremacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.