Georgia GOP Offers to Pay for Republicans to Canvass for Senate Runoff

The Georgia Republican Party is offering to pay for the airfare, hotel and other travel expenses for volunteers from other states willing to travel during the holiday season and escalating coronavirus pandemic to knock on potential voters' doors.

GOP officials from other states have been sharing the word.

"We are desperately in need of volunteers to knock on doors in Georgia, and connect with as many Georgians as possible if we want to win this election!" reads one plea shared with Newsweek.

"Republican turn out will be crucial for victory," reads another.

Georgia's two Republican incumbents—Sens. Kelly Loeffler and Doug Perdue—are facing tight battles to defend their seats from high-profile Democratic challengers—the Rev. Raphael Warnock and former Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Political analysts have deemed both races as toss-ups after the state voted for President-elect Joe Biden in the presidential election and neither Loeffler or Perdue could muster the votes to fend of a runoff, which is expected to be one of the most expensive in Georgia's history.

The race has drawn intense national interest as the January 5 runoffs could ultimately decide control of the U.S. Senate.

A flyer promoting the effort boasts the GOP is plotting "largest field operation in Georgia history" for the crucial runoff races.

Both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have held rallies in Georgia recently to promote the runoff. Vice President Mike Pence was there this week, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will campaign in Georgia next week.

The Georgia Republican Party didn't respond to Newsweek's multiple requests for comment on the effort and how many people have signed up.

The Georgia Democratic Party also didn't respond to requests from Newsweek about whether it planned to match the effort or what it thought of the GOP's plans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has discouraged unnecessary travel during the holiday period—particularly from state to state—because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia has been ranked as a high-risk state because of the virus' spread.

A Georgia GOP flyer promoting the volunteer deployment effort says volunteers must commit to knocking on doors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. Volunteers must commit to at least a specified block of dates to have their expenses covered: today through December 22, December 26-31 or January 2-6.

It notes that the Georgia GOP will cover round-trip flights and lodging in the Atlanta area, plus transportation for organizational efforts.

But not everything's a freebie. The flyer points out: "Volunteers will be responsible for their own food, gasoline, Ubers, and any other incurred personal expenses" and says rental cars won't be provided.

Georgia voters
Early voters stand in line at the State Farm Arena on December 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Early voting started today in Georgia for the runoff Election for Georgia Senators between Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic candidates John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Megan Varner/Getty