Control of U.S. Senate might hinge on 2 close races in Georgia

Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Control of the U.S. Senate in the 117th Congress might come down to two undecided races in Georgia, where Democrats are seeing a surge in votes as officials count thousands of remaining mail ballots.

Georgia was the only state with two Senate races this year, as one will fill the seat of Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired a year ago for health reasons.


And both of those races may be headed for a runoff.

For Isakson's seat, Republican Kelly Loeffler appears headed for a runoff with Democrat Raphael Warnock, as neither has won more than 50% of the vote. It's the same scenario in the race between incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

With better than 95% of votes counted, Warnock leads Loeffler by about 7 points and Perdue leads Ossoff 49.8% to 47.8%, according to projections by CNN, ABC News and NBC News.

It's possible, however, that Perdue could still reach the threshold needed for an outright victory. Georgia is still counting a number of ballots but is expected to finish soon, perhaps as soon as Friday, officials said.


Going into the election, Republicans held 53 seats to 47 by Democrats, which includes two independent senators.

If Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the presidency, Democrats would need only 50 seats for a majority in the Senate. They have already gained one and the two Georgia races would hand them control. Biden took leads over President Donald Trump Friday in both Georgia and Pennsylvania to inch closer to winning the White House.

The race between Loeffler and Warnock will be settled by a runoff in January. If Perdue fails to win his seat outright, he would also face a runoff with Ossoff in January.

Another race that could give help give Democrats control is undecided in North Carolina, where incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis leads Democrat Cal Cunningham by less than 2 points. North Carolina is still counting thousands of remaining votes.

There are other races in other states that have not been called by any of the networks, but none are considered close enough to change party control.

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday when Michigan incumbent Sen. Gary Peters won re-election with 49.6% to beat Republican challenger John James.


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