Posted on: December 7, 2020, 08:17h.
Last updated on: December 7, 2020, 08:17h.
Steve Wynn, the exiled former boss of the gaming company bearing his name, is spending big to help Republicans retain a slim majority in the Senate, dropping $5 million on the two upcoming runoff races in Georgia.
The Jan. 5 contests pit incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff and Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock. On Election Day, Perdue finished slightly ahead of Ossoff, but wasn’t declared the winner because he didn’t procure the 50 percent plus one as required by Georgia law.
The runoff for the seat currently held by Loeffler was expected because there were multiple canidates from both parties competing in the race. On Election Day, Warnock topped Loeffler 32.9 percent to 25.9 percent, but Republican challenger Rep. Doug Collins received 20 percent of the vote while four other Democrats combined to garner 13.5 percent.
Wynn’s contributions come at an important time for the GOP, a party still reeling from President Trump’s loss on Election Day. Television spots in the Peach State remain pricey as networks capitalize on both parties’ efforts to control the Senate. Ads in Atlanta currently cost $18,000 whereas the comparable commercial would have commanded $8,000 in July while rates in Savannah are 20 times higher than they were in the summer, according to the Associated Press.
Declining Odds for GOP
As of Dec. 1, bookmakers assigned odds of -350 (bet $350 to win $100) to retain control of the Senate with odds of +250 (wager $100 to win $250) to finish with exactly 50 seats, which would be where the party stands if it loses both Georgia races.
However, those are probabilities are tilting in favor of the Democrats. As of Dec. 4, the odds are -275 on the Republicans to have more than 50 Senate seats +200 to have exactly 50. Two weeks, bookmakers were offering odds of -600 and +325, respectively on those outcomes.
In recent days, Ossoff and Warnock accrued momentum following a New York Times piece revealing active stock trading by Perdue since 2016, including him using his position to alter his portfolio in February before the March market swoon forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
That extends a run of a rough luck in the Peach State for the GOP. President Trump narrowly lost the state to President-Elect Joe Biden, making the latter the first Democrat to win the state in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Wynn Contributions Really Matter
Wynn’s $5 million in donations to the Georgia senate contests matter for other reasons, including the fact that some well-heeled Democratic donors on Wall Street are reining in their purse strings for the Jan. 5 races.
Consensus on the Street is that some wealthy Democrats in the financial world and those Republicans in the space that supported Biden want a divided government because that scenario ensures the president-elect’s ambitious plans to raise taxes on the rich will be muted.
If the Democrats win both Georgia races, the party would have a de facto Senate majority because the chamber would be split 50-50 with the tie-breaking vote held by Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.