Georgia US Senate Seats Heading to Runoff Elections

November 7, 2020 Updated: November 9, 2020

Both U.S. Senate seats representing Georgia are heading to runoff elections, according to updated projections, reviving Democrat hopes that they can flip control of the upper congressional chamber.

A runoff for one seat was confirmed on Election Day. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) is vying with Atlanta pastor Raphael Warnock.

Voters will also decide on the other race in January 2021, according to new projections.

Neither Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) nor Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff, a filmmaker, have received 50 percent of the vote required to avoid a runoff.

As of Friday night, Perdue had 49.8 percent of the vote, compared to Ossoff’s 47.8 percent. Shane Hazel, a libertarian, has received over 114,000 votes.

Thousands of votes are still being counted, making it possible that Perdue will get enough votes to avoid the January showdown. But updated projections deem that unlikely.

“The stakes in this election could not be higher: A vote for Jon Ossoff is a vote to hand power to Chuck Schumer and the radical Democrats in Washington,” Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry said in a statement Friday. “Georgians won’t let that happen.”

“This race is headed to a runoff,” Ossoff told a crowd in Atlanta on Friday morning. “We have all the momentum, we have all the energy, we are on the right side of history.”

Epoch Times Photo
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks during an Election Night event in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Pool via Reuters)

Perdue, attempting to win a second term, this week called for counting “every lawful vote” that was cast. He later shared messages from others that asked people to donate to him and Loeffler so Republicans can keep the majority in the Senate.

Senate terms are staggered, meaning most states only see one race at a time. But a special election this year was triggered by the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson in late 2019.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, appointed Loeffler, a businesswoman, to the seat. Isakson’s original term was meant to run until 2022 but was cut short because of the retirement.

The so-called jungle election to fill the seat saw Loeffler and Warnock get the most votes, leaving Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) out of the runoff. Hazel will not be on the ballot in the other race.

Democrats are angling to get control of the Senate, which Republicans have held since 2016.

Current election results and projections have the parties in a tie with 48 seats each.

“I’m not certain I’m the majority leader yet,” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the top Republican and current majority leader, told reporters on Friday.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) reacts to her supporters during an Election Night party at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Republicans flipped an Alabama seat held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) but Democrats gained control of two seats held by the GOP, one representing Colorado and another representing Arizona.

In another race that hasn’t been called, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) is up over Democrat Al Gross. Sullivan has nearly 119,000 votes to Gross’s 61,362.

But Alaska has one of the slowest ballot counts in the nation, prompting media organizations to refrain from calling the race.

In North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is leading challenger Cal Cunningham by about 97,000 votes. Tillis has declared victory but Cunningham has not conceded, saying all votes need to be counted.

Results in North Carolina won’t be available until Nov. 12 or Nov. 13, state officials said.

Republicans prevailed in a number of races Democrats thought they could win. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) are among those thought vulnerable who will serve another six years.

A 50-50 tie is possible in the 100-member body. In that case, the vice president is extremely powerful, with the ability to break tied votes.

No winner of the presidential race has been declared. Ballot counting continues in a number of battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber