FILE - U.S. Capitol

The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

(The Center Square) – Twenty-one candidates are on the ballot to fill the Georgia U.S. Senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson in the Nov. 3 special election, but three candidates have emerged in recent polls as being atop the race.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican businesswoman and co-owner of Atlanta's WNBA franchise, was appointed in December by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the seat vacated by Isakson, who retired.

Republican Congressman Doug Collins made waves in Republican circles in January, when he announced his bid for the seat. Collins has represented Georgia's 9th Congressional District since 2013.

Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, has emerged as the top Democratic candidate.

The special election will determine who serves the remaining two years of Isakson's six-year term. If none of the candidates garners a majority of the vote, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will happen Jan. 5.

The Center Square sent all three candidates an election questionnaire, giving each candidate an opportunity to communicate where they stand on some of the issues the country faces.

None of the candidates responded to these questions posed by The Center Square:

What is your view of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and what position would you take on it if elected?

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire.

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. On his campaign website, Collins says, " I have made it a top priority to champion pro-growth policies and reduce unnecessary barriers to help small businesses thrive. I worked hand-in-hand with President [Donald] Trump and my Republican colleagues to pass historic tax reform, and we’re continuing to see the results."

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire.

What other tax policies do you support? Would you vote to raise taxes? Explain.

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire. On her campaign website, Loeffler says "low taxes empower innovators and business owners to grow, expand and invest."

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. 

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire.

The federal budget deficit and national debt have grown at record paces during the COVID-19 pandemic. How concerned are you about both, and what policies would you support to reduce debt and the recurring budget deficits?

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire. Loeffler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "We need to pursue coronavirus relief with common sense solutions that utilize the funds we’ve already set aside – without letting wasteful spending balloon our already out-of-control national debt." On her campaign website, Loeffler says she "supports efforts to reduce the Democrats' reckless spending agenda and reign in the national debt."

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. Collins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "While the global pandemic called for unprecedented relief, our national debt is growing rapidly and we should be mindful of that as we consider future packages. That’s why I support a scaled-down proposal consisting of meaningful, targeted relief."

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire.

What national health care policies do you support and, if they increase costs, how would you pay for them?

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "my number one goal is to make sure every Georgian has access to quality, affordable health care. Loeffler says Trump has taken "historic" action to lower drug prices. She also supports putting an end to surprise medical billing.

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. He blames pharmacy benefit managers for the high price of prescription drugs and touts bills he's introduced in Congress to increase transparency and accountability in drug pricing.

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire. He says he wants to improve upon the Affordable Care Act and ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Warnock also wants to lower prescription drug prices. On his campaign website, Warnock says he supports expanding Medicaid and sees it as "key to keeping rural hospitals open, making health care accessible and affordable to those who need it the most, and improving treatment for victims of addiction."

What national energy policies do you support?

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire. She is critical of Democrats' Green New Deal and says it would kill millions of energy jobs.

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. 

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire. He supports carbon reduction goals and new standards for cars and infrastructure. Warnock wants to transition to a clean economy by 2050.

What would be your role as a U.S. Senator in upholding the U.S. Constitution and preserving democracy?

Loeffler: Did not respond to the questionnaire. On her campaign website, Loeffler says she is a "strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment Rights," and she "firmly opposes every effort to undermine our Constitutional Rights."

Collins: Did not respond to the questionnaire. On his campaign website, Collins says, " As a father, I feel an obligation to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights – including the right to keep and bear arms."

Warnock: Did not respond to the questionnaire.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.