Former President Barack Obama urged voters on Friday to rally behind Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the Georgia Senate runoff races, saying the contrasts with the GOP incumbents couldn’t be clearer.
Mr. Obama said GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have shown they are more interested in protecting their investments than they are in fighting to advance legislation that will help Georgia residents gain access to health care and deal with the fallout from the coronavirus.
“You’ve got two candidates in Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff who have shown themselves repeatedly to operate at the highest levels of integrity, and let’s face it you have two incumbent Senators who in the midst of the worst public health crisis any of us have seen over our lifetimes, we know, were first and foremost worried about their stock portfolio,” Mr. Obama said in a virtual rally.
“Goodness gracious, that alone should tell you something,” he said.
Mr. Obama was alluding to reports that have raised questions about stock trades Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler made around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Neither of the incumbent Republicans has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Democrats, though, say the stock trades should raise serious red flags for voters about the Republicans’ political motivations ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff races that will decide control of the U.S. Senate.
“That alone should motivate, I hope, the people of Georgia to say we want somebody in there that cares about us, that is thinking about us and that is working for us every day,” Mr. Obama said.
The virtual event was emceed by Stacey Abrams, a 2018 gubernatorial candidate, voting rights activist, and a rising star in the party.
It also featured Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, as well as Rep-elect Nikema Williams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden won Georgia in the Nov. 3 election, marking the first time a Democrat has carried the state in a presidential election in 28 years.
Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, meanwhile, advanced to runoffs against Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler, respectively.
Mr. Obama said the results of the runoff battles will go a long way in determining the trajectory of the Biden administration.
“The Senate is a place, where even with a big majority it is tough to get legislation through, and if you don’t have a majority if the Senate is controlled by Republicans who are interested in obstruction and gridlock, rather than progress and helping people, they can block just about anything,” Mr. Obama said.
“The promise of the Biden presidency and the Harris Vice presidency rests on their ability to have a cooperative posture with Congress,” he said. “And to do that we have to have the two gentlemen who are running for the Senate in Georgia — Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — to help move that [Biden] agenda forward.”