Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Both U.S. Senate races in Georgia will head to a runoff after neither Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff were able to meet a 50% threshold to win their election.
Perdue's lead shrunk below 50% Friday as absentee ballots counted from suburbs and Democratic-leaning areas favored Ossoff. State law requires candidates to have more than 50% of the vote in statewide contests to avoid a runoff.
Control of the chamber hinges on this and Georgia's other Senate race between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, which will also go to a runoff. Neither candidate secured at least 50% of the vote.
Loeffler was named to the seat of former Sen. Johnny Isakson more than a year ago when he retired for health reasons.
Both races will have a Jan. 5 runoff.
Georgia was the only state with two Senate races this year.
Perdue had a hefty campaign account and unlike Loeffler's race, he didn't have primary challenger.
Ossoff, an investigative journalist, who three years ago narrowly lost a runoff in a U.S. House race, scored an outright win in the Democratic primary.
Perdue has lambasted Ossoff for business dealings with a Hong Kong-based company with ties to China, which oversaw production of a video for his London-based investigative documentary company.
Former President Barack Obama stumped for both Ossoff and Warnock at a rally in Atlanta the night before the election, accusing Perdue and Loeffler of being "shady" as they were concerned about their stock market portfolios while downplaying the coronavirus pandemic.
Ossoff similarly questioned Perdue's character, saying he has put his loyalty to President Donald Trump over the interest of people in Georgia.
Campaign managers for Perdue and Ossoff expressed confidence they could win in the runoff.