Advertising by Republicans was full of ominous warnings that the country would slide into a morass of hard-left socialism if the two Democrats were to win. At the rally on Monday, Mr. Trump warned that Democrats would “turn America into Venezuela, with no jobs, no prosperity, no rights, no freedom, no future for you and your family.”
Mr. Ossoff also took some hard shots at Mr. Perdue, calling him a “crook” over controversial stock trades the senator made, while accusing him of trying to profit off the coronavirus pandemic, something Mr. Perdue denies.
Neither party lacked for resources to make its arguments. These were the most expensive Senate contests in U.S. history. Including the campaigning before the runoff, more than $469 million was spent in the Perdue-Ossoff contest, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and more than $362 million was dedicated to the Loeffler-Warnock race.
That the races were competitive at all was a testament to the changing nature of Georgia.
Though dominated by Republicans for much of the past two decades, the state is shifting because of an influx of newcomers, immigrants and American-born voters, chasing warm weather and Sun Belt opportunity. Democratic hopes were buoyed not only by Mr. Biden’s victory, but by the 2018 campaign of Stacey Abrams, who ran a competitive but unsuccessful race for governor.
And the two Senate races were pushed into runoffs by some of the defining forces shaping national politics.
Mr. Ossoff made his political debut in 2017 as a fresh-faced and virtually unknown candidate vying for an open House seat in suburban Atlanta. The special election served as one of the first major referendums on Mr. Trump; Mr. Ossoff, despite his obscurity, was inundated with money from energized liberals across the country.
Mr. Ossoff lost the 2017 race, but he carried his experience and name recognition into the 2020 battle, where he forced Mr. Perdue into a runoff.