Georgia’s 2020 Senate races, explained

UPDATE (1/6/21): Ossoff and Warnock have defeated their Republican rivals and will become Georgia’s next two Senators. Warnock will have to defend his seat in 2022 because he was filling in for the remainder of Johnny Isakson’s term, whereas Ossoff has a full term that doesn’t expire until January 2027.

UPDATE (11/7/20): Both Senate races are going to a runoff on January 5; Ossoff against Perdue, Warnock against Loeffler.

With a special election underway for Johnny Isakson’s old seat, there are two US Senate races in Georgia this year, with 24 candidates running in total.

With so many candidates running in two elections having different rules, it’s no wonder there’s some confusion. Here’s the rundown on the two 2020 Senate races in Georgia.

View APN’s full voter guide here.

Senate Race #1: Perdue’s seat

In the more straightforward of the two races, incumbent Senator David Perdue (R) is facing a challenge from Jon Ossoff (D).

David Perdue (R)

Senator David Perdue

Experience: Perdue has been a US Senator since 2015. Before that, he was the CEO of Reebok and Dollar General.
Platform: Cut taxes and regulations; fund the police, military and border security; support private education options.
Fundraising: Perdue had raised over $14.5 million as of 6/30, with $10.7 million of that on hand.

Jon Ossoff (D)

Jon Ossoff, candidate for US Senate

Experience: Ossoff worked as a national security staffer in DC and as an aide to Rep. Hank Johnson for five years. He is currently the CEO of Insight TWI, a investigative journalism company.
Platform: Debt-free college; a public healthcare option; invest in infrastructure; ban private prisons; ban assault weapons.
Fundraising: Ossoff had raised $7 million as of 6/30, with $2.5 million on hand.

This race is considered a toss-up. Averaging together six different polls from September and August, Ossoff (44.3%) and Perdue (44.2%) are neck and neck.

Also ran: Libertarian Shane Hazel also threw his hat in the ring for this one, but has no money and does not appear to be running a serious campaign.

Senate Race #2: Open seat

Here’s where things start to get interesting! There are 21 candidates running in the special election for Johnny Isakson’s seat, which is now being kept warm by Kelly Loeffler (R).

This is called a “jungle primary” and has different rules from a normal election. Instead of winner-take-all, the top two candidates who receive the most votes will face off again in a runoff on January 5, even if both are from the same party. If any candidate gets over 50% of the vote in the first round, they will avoid the need for a runoff (although that seems unlikely here).

Major Candidates

Kelly Loeffler (R)

Senator Kelly Loeffler

Experience: Loeffler has been a US Senator since January, the first woman to serve in that position (at least, for longer than one day). Before then, she was CEO of Bakkt, a financial services company.
Platform: Pro-life; pro-guns; free-trade; fight sex trafficking; build the wall.
Fundraising: Loeffler had raised over $17.6 million as of 6/30, with $7 million of that on hand.
Polling: Loeffler is in the lead with 23% of the vote as of 9/10 (averaging together four polls from August and September).

Doug Collins (R)

Doug Collins, US Representative

Experience: Collins has been a US Representative since 2013. He also serves as chaplain in the US Air Force Reserve.
Platform: Cut regulations, expand broadband access, balance the federal budget, keep out immigrants, pro-guns, pro-life.
Fundraising: Collins had raised $3.8 million as of 6/30, with $1.1 million of that on hand.
Polling: Collins is in second place with 21% of the vote as of 9/10.

Raphael Warnock (D)

Raphael Warnock

Experience: Warnock has been senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005. He is the former chair of the New Georgia Project, a voter registration group.
Platform: A public healthcare option; make election day a national holiday; end private prisons and mass incarceration; restore the “dignity” of work.
Fundraising: Warnock had raised $4.3 million as of 6/30, with $1.5 million of that on hand.
Polling: Warnock is in third place with 18% of the vote as of 9/10.

Matt Lieberman (D)

Matt Lieberman

Experience: Lieberman has a law degree from Yale and is currently a school teacher.
Platform: Net zero climate emissions by 2050; ban assault weapons; a public healthcare option; a new Voting Rights Act.
Fundraising: Lieberman had raised $1.2 million as of 6/30, with $0.9 million of that on hand.
Polling: Lieberman is in fourth place with 13% of the vote as of 9/10.

Ed Tarver (D)

Ed Tarver

Experience: Tarver is a former U.S. Attorney and Georgia State Senator.
Platform: Invest in infrastructure, champion the Green New Deal, reverse mass incarceration, stop “racial and economic segregation.”
Fundraising: Tarver had raised $0.15 million as of 6/30, with $0.03 million of that on hand.
Polling: Tarver is in fifth place with 5% of the vote as of 9/10.

Minor Candidates

These are candidates who are not being polled or have not yet raised $100,000.

Brian Slowinski

Brian Slowinski (L) is not running a serious campaign but is probably guaranteed 1-2% of the vote from Libertarians across the state. He is the only minor candidate being polled (one poll has him at 3%).

Wayne Johnson

Wayne Johnson (R) wants to cancel student debt, provide $50,000 scholarships for all high school graduates and give tax credits to those caring for elderly parents. Wait, he’s a Republican?

Derrick Grayson

Derrick Grayson (R) is a libertarian-leaning Republican (similar to Ron Paul) who wants to lower taxes, get out of multi-lateral trade agreements like NAFTA, bring the troops home, stop domestic spying and end the militarization of police.

Richard Winfield

Richard Winfield (D) is a democratic socialist (similar to Bernie Sanders) who supports “super” Medicare-for-all and wants to guarantee every American a job at $20 an hour.

Very minor candidates

These are candidates who have not raised $30,000 and who will likely not receive 1% of the vote.

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (D) supports a $15 an hour minimum wage, Medicare-for-all and to establish a federal agency to support American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS).

Deborah Jackson (D) is the former Mayor of Lithonia who stands for a $15 an hour minimum wage and providing public support to ensure housing affordability.

Allen Buckley (I) is the former Libertarian candidate who ran for this seat in 2016. He supports low taxes, balancing the federal budget and taking action against climate change.

Kandiss Taylor (R) supports term limits, replacing the income tax with a national sales tax, and is pro-life and pro-guns.

Valencia Stovall (D) wants to “transform education,” reform our criminal justice system, support small businesses and promote home ownership.


These are candidates who don’t have websites, have only raised enough money to pay the qualifying fee or have not submitted a fundraising disclosure at all.

Al Bartell
John Fortuin
Annette Davis Jackson

Jameisa James
Joy Felecia Slade
Michael Todd Greene
Rod Mack

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