Georgia Congresswoman-elect says runoffs are “really about turnout”

The only Democratic candidate to flip a House seat in 2020 said one thing is key to capturing Georgia’s two Senate seats in the upcoming runoff elections: getting voters to the polls.

Representative-elect Carolyn Bourdeaux said Thursday that voters are excited about the upcoming election, “and these runoffs are really about turnout,” she told CBSN anchor Tanya Rivero. 

Republican Senator David Perdue is facing off against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is up against Democrat Raphael Warnock in the January 5 runoffs. President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are both campaigning in the state for their respective candidates. 

Bourdeaux said her campaign’s outreach to voters and her focus on the coronavirus pandemic and getting children back to school helped give her an edge over her Republican opponent Rich McMormick. 

“About 30% of those voting in 2020 did not vote in 2016,” the Georgia Democrat said of her campaign’s voter outreach efforts. 

Whether that success will translate to the Georgia Senate runoffs, which will determine control of the upper chamber, depends on voter outreach, Bourdeaux said. 

“It’s about going back to your base, your core voters, and getting them to vote in a time when most people are not used to voting,” she said. “Really what we have to do is go back to that door-to-door operation, sometimes it’s phone-to-phone in a COVID world. But we have taken our entire operation of that grassroots outreach … and repurposed it over to the Senate races.” 

Now that she’s headed to the House, she’s making connections with the rest of the Democratic freshman class.

“We really have had a number of very, very important conversations about bridge building,” she said about discussions with her colleagues. 

She and her newly elected Democratic colleagues are committed to engaging Republicans after the Democratic majority shrank in the November elections. House Democrats also face the challenge of keeping members of their own party on the same page, she said. 

“We thought about even naming ourselves the bridge-building class because we have to bring people together within the Democratic Party, where we have a lot of different viewpoints, a lot of people coming from very, very different and diverse backgrounds. But we also are very, very committed to bipartisan outreach and making sure that we are reaching out to Republicans, and bringing people along to solve the really, really pressing problems that we face today,” she said. 

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