Jon Ossoff took the stage in Columbus and looked out over a parking lot filled with cars, with supporters blaring their horns in approval as he declared that “change has come to Georgia.”
Hours earlier, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler stepped to a microphone in suburban Atlanta and addressed hundreds of eager supporters packed into the Cobb County GOP headquarters. The freshman senator and her Florida colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio, stirred the crowd with their insistence that the change offered by Ossoff and his fellow Democratic Senate hopeful Raphael Warnock means “radical elements” would control Washington.
Those opening salvos of Georgia’s twin Senate runoff campaign — Ossoff looking to unseat Republican Sen. David Perdue and Warnock facing off with Loeffler — showcase starkly different approaches the two parties are taking to the unusual circumstances that make this newfound two-party battleground the epicenter of a national battle for control of the Senate.
Both sides are playing to core supporters, the most reliable voters among the 5 million who split their ballots roughly evenly between the two parties in the first round. But for Democrats, it’s seemingly a more piecemeal, voter-by-voter approach, while Republicans are pushing a broad branding message through mass media.