MILTON, Ga. (AP) – Campaigning in Georgia on Monday, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stressed a need to elect Democratic U.S. Senate candidates who will advance President-elect Joe Bidenâ€™s agenda. Ivanka Trump, meanwhile, warned that failing to reelect the two Republican incumbents in next monthâ€™s crucial runoff could erode her fatherâ€™s legislative achievements.
Telling a crowd in Columbus that â€œeverything is at stakeâ€ in the Jan. 5 contests, Harris said Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock would advance Biden policy priorities such as increased funding for schools in low-income districts, a $15,000 tax credit to first-time home buyers, and policing reforms.
Harrisâ€™ other planned stop was canceled due to a scheduled Senate vote on a coronavirus relief package.
Speaking ahead of Harris, Ossoff warned that Republicans would block the Biden administrationâ€™s agenda if they kept Senate control, stymying a progressive platform to raise the minimum wage, expand access to health care and invest in infrastructure.
â€œWe have too much good work to do, Columbus, to be mired in gridlock and obstruction,â€ he said.
Trump, President Donald Trumpâ€™s daughter and a senior White House adviser, stumped with Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on Monday outside a pub in Milton, a wealthy suburb about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Atlanta.
Over the crowdâ€™s shouts of â€œWe love Trump!â€ and â€œFight for Trump!â€ she implored voters to send Republicans back to the Senate â€œto protect all that America stands for.â€ She called the runoff the â€œmost important congressional race in history,â€ and described Perdue and Loeffler as the â€œlast line of defenseâ€ against Democratsâ€™ agenda and for her father in Congress.
â€œWe need David and Kelly in the Senate to keep our economy going, to keep delivering on the presidentâ€™s plans, and to keep our schools open,â€ she said, drawing cheers from the audience.
As she spoke, touting her fatherâ€™s record on unemployment and work on a COVID-19 vaccine, a truck pulling a massive â€œTrump 2020â€ sign circled the street, drawing audience members to take videos and selfies.
Mondayâ€™s appearances were part of a string of pre-runoff visits by high-profile surrogates of the outgoing president and the president-elect. Biden himself has already stumped in Georgia, and Vice President Mike Pence has made several visits. President Donald Trump said late Saturday that he would return Jan. 4 for an election-eve rally, just two days before Congress meets to count votes from the Electoral College.
Trump has refused to accept the results of his own election loss, alleging without evidence a conspiracy to throw the election to Biden. In a tweet announcing his Georgia plans, Trump continued to express anger at Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for certifying Bidenâ€™s win over him by more than 11,000 votes.
Both Perdue and Loeffler have avoided explicit public acknowledgement of Bidenâ€™s win while attacking Raffensperger.
Ahead of Ivanka Trumpâ€™s remarks, Perdue, who is running against Ossoff, repeated his admonition to Georgians that â€œthe eyes of the world are on us right now.â€ Loeffler, who is being challenged by Warnock, reiterated her campaignâ€™s assertion that the pastor is a radical and socialist. â€œIf we donâ€™t vote, we wonâ€™t just lose; weâ€™ll lose the country,â€ she said.
Warnock pushed back at his opponentâ€™s repeated digs, which he said hindered his attempts at â€œa substantive debate about the people of Georgia.â€
â€œMy opponent is trying to reduce this race to the kind of empty schoolyard insults made between children who arenâ€™t thinking very carefully on a playground,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m trying to have a debate, and sheâ€™s engaged in name-calling. Thatâ€™s all right. As we say in the South, â€˜Bless her heart.â€™â€
Thanawala reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
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