“If we want Joe Biden to succeed in tackling this virus and getting folks back to work, we need Raphael Warnock in the Senate,” Obama said in one of the ads, which were all first shared with CNN and released Friday.
The ads showcase the heightened focus on Georgia’s Senate runoff elections, which will decide which party controls the Senate and will affect the kind of legislation Biden would be able to pass through the chamber once he becomes President.
Warnock is challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and Democrat Jon Ossoff is running to unseat Republican Sen. David Perdue. The elections take place on January 5, and early voting began in the state on Monday.
Obama invoked the late civil rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis in one of the ads. Lewis’ funeral service was held earlier this year at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which has long been a haven for the Black freedom struggle and is the same church at which Warnock serves as a senior pastor.
“John Lewis wrote that ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act,'” Obama said. “Georgia, the time to act is now. Let’s send Raphael Warnock to the Senate to make progress for all of us.”
The digital ads are the latest example of Obama attempting to turn out voters for Democrats in Georgia. Earlier this month, Obama appeared in a campaign ad for Ossoff, and pitched him as a candidate who will fight injustice and pass a new Voting Rights Act and “listen to the experts” in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Obama also virtually stumped for both candidates earlier this month.
The day before Election Day, Obama traveled to Georgia and appeared at a campaign event to rally support for President-elect Joe Biden and the Senate candidates. Biden went on to become the first Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years to win the state.
Republicans currently control the Senate, but if Ossoff and Warnock both win their runoff elections, the chamber would be tied 50-50 and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be able to act as a tie-breaking vote, therefore giving control to Democrats.