Georgia Democrats have already discovered that their two newest senators – Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff – misled them with a false promise that helped them get elected.
Both progressive senators narrowly defeated their Republican counterparts to win control of the Senate for the Democrats. But a major issue raised by critics is that President Biden espoused a coronavirus relief plan that would send $1,400 checks to many Americans – while Warnock and Ossoff campaigned on a $2,000 promise.
“Warnock and Ossoff made it a point to endorse and exclusively say ‘$2,000 checks,’” Georgia Democrat Oscar Zaro told Mediaite. “A lot of the people in my district voted blue in the runoff for two main reasons. One: Loeffler and Perdue denying us relief during COVID while profiting millions themselves; and two, $2,000 checks.”
Leading into the Jan. 5 runoff elections were a series of campaign events espousing the $2,000 stimulus check proposal in the days after former President Trump signed a $600-check plan in late December.
Senate Republicans blocked a $2,000 plan at the time even though it had Trump’s support.
“If you send Jon and the reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency for so many people who are struggling right now,” Biden said at a rally for both candidates on Jan. 4.
Reelecting GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, on the other hand, would ensure “those checks will never get there,” he argued.
Rogelio Linares, a Democratic canvasser during the runoff elections, told Mediaite that he feels “like s—” over the issue and called it “a betrayal of the working class.”
“I was lying to people that were relying on this,” he said. “At the time I didn’t know it was a lie. But that was not the reality.”
Another Peach State voter, Justin Wade, told the outlet the $1,400 checks are “a bad sign” and noted that Democrats and supportive PACs had dumped record-breaking totals on campaign spending into the state in their effort to win the Senate, only to immediately back away from the $2,000 total.
Ossoff, especially, used the promise of $2,000 checks to his advantage during the race, issuing a slew of tweets attacking his opponent Perdue over the payouts.
“If David Perdue really wanted $2000 direct relief checks for the people, he’d be on the floor of the Senate demanding McConnell put up the House bill for a vote,” Ossoff tweeted at one point.
The $2,000 check issue became so prominent in the Georgia races that even the Republican candidates endorsed the call for bigger checks.
But now Biden is supporting a $1,400 plan. On top of December’s $600 checks, the total adds up to $2,000 – but critics say the campaign messaging was clear. It called for $2,000 checks.
Due to the wins by Ossoff and Warnock, Democrats and the two independent senators who caucus with them have a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing a tie-breaking vote. And though moderate Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he would “absolutely not” vote for $2,000 checks, it could still pass with minor Republican support.