With the Jan. 5 runoff election and the holidays just around the corner, Sunday was a busy day in Forsyth County, as two bus tours with nationally-known elected officials rolled through town to campaign for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who will face Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the runoff.
Between the events on Sunday, the Save America Tour at the Cumming Fairgrounds earlier in the afternoon and a rally for the senators at the Reid Barn that evening, not only did Perdue and Loeffler have a chance to address supporters, but the events also featured speakers from other states including former South Carolina governor and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Rep.-elect Burgess Owens.
Reid Barn Rally
At the Reid Barn on Sunday evening, Perdue, Loeffler and Haley received a warm welcome from attendees as they exited their bus and gave a rundown of what they felt was at stake with the election.
Haley said she became motivated to get involved in the race after hearing Loeffler and Perdue’s stories and their record in the Senate.
“They both grew up on family farms, so they know the value of hard work. They both worked through college, so they know the value of a dollar,” Haley said. “They both went into their fields and became successful, so they’re tough and more importantly, they’re normal. They’re not politicians. They weren’t meant to be in D.C. all their lives, but they are there, they’ve created jobs and they’re exactly the kind of people that we need to have in Washington.”
Haley said while Georgia voters were likely getting worn out by the mailers, ads and text messages “but I want you to remember that every time you get one, I want you to remember there’s someone in another state counting on you, and they’re counting on you to protect their freedoms and protect their rights and there is just so much at stake.”
As the speakers made their comments at a fireplace outside the barn, Perdue said “this is the very first time I’ve done [a speech] in front of a hearth, and I discovered a new way to keep politician’s brief: put them in front of a fire, y’all.”
Perdue said, like President Donald Trump, he and Loeffler were political outsiders and he had long supported the president.
“In 2016, when President Trump was a candidate, no one gave him a chance to win,” Perdue said. “You remember that? He was an outsider, a business guy, he had a different point of view, he didn’t come from Washington, nobody understood him. There were two people in the United States Senate in 2016 when he was a candidate, who stood up and endorsed him and worked for him and fought alongside him to get him elected, and you’re looking at one of them right now.”
Perdue said if the Democratic candidates win and their party controls the House, Senate and presidency, “they get total control, they get a one-party system.”
When speaking to the crowd, Loeffler said “this is an important night in America because this marks the beginning of us taking this back. We are fighting for President Trump. He fought for us, and now we’re fighting for the future of America.”
Like Perdue, Loeffler said the election was an opportunity for conservative voters and elected officials had more work to do toward school choice, opening the economy and healthcare.
“We’ve got to make sure that we have good healthcare in this country,” Loeffler said. “Obamacare has driven 130,000 Georgians off of healthcare because they can’t afford it. That’s not right. You can’t protect pre-existing conditions when you can’t afford the coverage. David and I are fighting to protect pre-existing conditions, make healthcare more accessible and make sure we don’t turn your doctor’s office into the DMV.”
Save America Tour
Like the stop at Reid Barn, the Save America Tour, which is making stops across the state ahead of the runoff, was heavily attended by supporters of Trump, Loeffler and Perdue along with speakers who detailed why the races are vital.
“I’m here to tell you, the two Senate races we have in the state of Georgia on Jan. 5 are the most important Senate races of our lifetimes,” Cruz said. “There have never been Senate races with as much consequences because Georgia is very likely going to consider who controls the Senate majority. Georgia is going to decide whether we have Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.”
Despite recent spats between Trump and Gov. Brian Kemp, Cruz said the Republican Party is not divided heading into the runoff.
“We’re going to see a whole lot of stories about how Republicans are divided and Republicans are pissed off at what is happening at the top of the ticket,” he said. “Let me tell you, I’m pissed off about what’s happening at the top of the ticket. Anyone who says if you’re mad, you should stay home and throw the country off the cliff into socialist oblivion, they’re not telling you the truth.”
Rich McCormick, the Republican candidate for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, pulled double duty on Sunday, appearing at both rallies.
At the Save America stop, McCormick said that he felt calls for voters to not cast ballots in the primary as a protest to the presidential election.
“Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re not going to vote,” he said. “You wouldn’t tell your child if they don’t like the way they’re reffing the game to stop plaything the game. We will finish the game.”
Owens, who will take office in January to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District, referenced his time in the NFL, where he was a member of the Oakland Raiders’ Super Bowl XV-winning team, and likened the runoff to the fourth quarter of a game
“When you look up on the field, there’s a scoreboard and a time clock,” Owens said. “In the fourth quarter, the scoreboard will take care of itself; the most important thing for a player on the field is the time clock. What are you going to do with the remaining second of that game? Are you giving it your all or are you going to give up? Because it doesn’t matter what the score is, it’s up to you to give until the very last second.”
Jim DeMint, a former Senator from South Carolina touted Trump’s accomplishments over the last four years, thanked those in attendance for their support heading into the runoff.
“We’ve seen jobs created for all Americans. We’ve seen our country become more prosperous,” he said. “The idea that we want to continue is America-first. Put America first. This is the beginning of what I call the American movement, where we know when America is prosperous and successful, not only is America better off, the whole world is better off.”