• Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:04 pm

How Georgia could leave US Senate control unclear until January

  • Published at 02:13 pm November 7th, 2020
US Election 2020 Senate Georgia
Supporters listen as Democratic US Senate candidate Jon Ossoff speaks at a news conference, in Grant Park after the election, in Atlanta, Georgia on November 6, 2020 Reuters

As of Friday, the Democrats and the Republicans each hold 48 seats in the 100-member Senate

The state of Georgia is playing an unusual power-broker role in the knife-edge balance-of-power struggle playing out between Democrats and Republicans over the US Senate following Tuesday's elections. Georgia's two Senate seats, unusually, were both up for election this year, and both races are headed for run-off elections on January 5 after no candidate in either race managed to win a majority of the votes.

As election results stand as of Friday, the Democrats and the Republicans will each hold 48 seats in the 100-member Senate. Two other races in addition to Georgia are still outstanding, but both are widely expected to be won by Republicans.

With the Georgia runoff set for January 5, that will leave the question of which party will control the Senate unanswered until after the rest of the new Congress is sworn in on January 3.

Why were both Georgia senate seat on the ballot?

Republican Senator David Perdue was up for re-election, according to the regular six-year Senate cycle. He was first elected in 2014 and is now in a tight contest against Democrat Jon Ossoff, an investigative journalist and media executive.

Each fell short of the 50%-plus-one-vote threshold, with Perdue getting 49.8% of the vote and Ossoff 47.9%, and they will face each other in a run-off, according to Edison Research on Friday.

 Also read: We're going to win this race: Biden predicts victory as his lead over Trump grows

Georgia's other senator, Republican Kelly Loeffler, was appointed in 2019 to succeed Johnny Isakson, who retired. Her seat was up for grabs in a special election that drew 21 candidates, including Republican US Representative Doug Collins.

Democrat Raphael Warnock emerged with the greatest share of the vote, at 32.7%, with Loeffler drawing 26% and Collins 20.1%. The winner of the runoff election in that race will serve only two years, filling out the remainder of the six-year term that Isakson had been elected to in 2016.

How common are runoff elections among US states?

Several US states including Georgia require runoff elections for primary contests that produce no clear winner.

But Georgia became one of the few states to apply runoffs to general elections, after a gubernatorial race in 1966 failed to produce a clear winner and a state legislature dominated by Democrats chose their own candidate over a Republican who had won a slightly larger plurality of voters.

Why would Georgia's run-offs affect control of the senate?

Democrats failed to generate the "blue wave" of voters they hoped for on November 3 but won enough Senate races to pick up a 48th seat in the 100-member Senate. Republicans look likely to keep 50 seats before the Georgia runoffs, if Republicans are re-elected in the races in North Carolina and Alaska that have not yet been called. The Republican candidates are leading in the vote counts in both of those states.

Also read: Supreme Court denies immediate halt of Pennsylvania count

Democrats would face long odds in winning both Senate seats in traditionally Republican-leaning Georgia, but if they do succeed and Joe Biden wins the White House, that would give a Vice President Kamala Harris a 51st tie-breaking vote.

That would be a huge prize for Democrats, because otherwise a Republican-controlled Senate would have the power to block most of Biden's policy priorities. It sets the stage for an intense two months of campaigning as money, political operatives and the news media pour into Georgia.


Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail