US President-elect Joe Biden sought to rouse support for Democrats during a rally Monday ahead of a Senate runoff in the hotly contestedsouthern US state of Georgia.
"This is it. It's a new year, and tomorrow can be a new day for Atlanta, for Georgia and for America,'' Biden said at a drive-in rally in the state's capital.
Georgia's Senate runoff on Tuesday puts Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue against Democrat challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The first vote for Georgia's two Senate seats in November was too close to call.
Both Democrats and Republicans are campaigning heavily in Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, which emerged as abattleground in the 2020 election. Opinion polls have the Senate runoffs neck-and-neck.
Biden won the presidential election in Georgia by a thin margin of nearly 12,000 votes. If Democrats can flip the state's two Senate seats currently held by Republicans, it would split the chamber 50-50, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a tiebreaking vote in passing legislation.
Biden said having a Democratic majority would be necessary to pass laws to combat the coronavirus.
"Unlike any time in my career, one state can chart the course, not just for the four years but for the next generation," Biden said, adding that Loeffler and Perdue think they have "sworn an oath to Donald Trump" and not the US constitution.
Trump: 'Stakes couldn't be higher'
Following Biden's Atlanta rally, President Donald Trump held a nighttime rally in the rural town of Dalton in northern Georgia to drum up Republican support, urging voters to "swamp" the polls.
Trump called Tuesday's runoff one of the "most important elections" in US history, while reiterating his unsubstantiated claims that the presidential election was "rigged" and there was "no way" he lost Georgia.
"The Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you cannot let them," the president said. "You just can't let them steal the US Senate, you can't let it happen.''
"The stakes in this election could not be higher," Trump told the crowd of several thousand supporters, many of whom began gathering hours before the start of the rally, where stands sold "Stop the Steal" signs.
Senator Loeffler, who appeared alongside Trump at the rally, has said she will join other Republicans in objecting to the Electoral College's certification of Biden's victory on Wednesday.
Earlier Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of conservative Christian voters at a church to stop a Democratic takeover in Washington. "We're going to keep Georgia, and we're going to save America,'' Pence said.
Trump's appearance in Georgia comes a day after a bombshell recording was released in which Trump asks Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" him nearly 12,000 votes in order to overturn Biden's victory, which Trump claims was fraudulent despite hand recounts and failed legal appeals.