Two Republican incumbents, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, are battling to keep their seats in Georgia's runoff election. If their Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, both win, Democrats will reclaim the Senate majority.
Control of the Senate will effectively set the parameters of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s first two years in office. A Republican-led Senate would complicate his ability to staff his cabinet, pass legislation and advance his political priorities.
Here's a look at what we know so far.
Early voting data suggests that the races are very competitive.There are some indications that Democrats had a bigger share of the early-voting electorate than they did in the general election, raising hopes for a party that has traditionally been the underdog in runoff races.
The outcome now depends on whether Republicans can overcome the Democrats' early gains when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Rates of early voting have been lowest in the conservative northwest corner of the state, worrying some Republicans. But others argue that their supporters typically vote in higher numbers on election day and hope that President Trump's rally on Monday in Dalton, a city in the northwest, will push more Republicans to the polls.
Strategists from both parties remain uncertain on what to anticipate beyond a tight race. Demographic changes have shifted the politics in Georgia, turning the traditionally conservative Southern state into a hotly contested battleground.
In November, Mr. Perdue received 49.7 percent of the vote, just short of the majority he would have needed to avoid a runoff, while his challenger, Mr. Ossoff, had 47.9 percent — a difference of about 88,000 votes. The field was more crowded in the other Senate contest: Mr. Warnock finished with 32.9 percent of the vote and Ms. Loeffler with 25.9 percent.
Modeling the electorate for these rematches is trickier than usual: Never has a Georgia runoff determined the balance of power in the Senate — or been held in the midst of a pandemic.
Yes, there could be yet another round of counting. After multiple vote counts last year, state officials are preparing for all contingencies.
In November, it took a week and a half of counting after Election Day before it was clear that Mr. Biden had won the state.
Republicans are expected to command an early lead on election night, both because the more conservative areas of the state typically report results faster and because votes cast in person, which have favored Republicans during the pandemic, are typically released earlier. Heavily Democratic counties, including the suburban Atlanta areas that helped Mr. Biden win, historically take longer to count votes.
A staggering influx of political spending has flooded the state, as campaign operatives, party officials and outside groups descended on the races. Nearly $500 million has been spent on advertising, according to AdImpact, an advertising tracking firm, saturating the airwaves at previously unheard-of levels.
— Lisa Lerer, New York Times, January 5
January 5, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Reach out to at least one possible voter in GA today to get the job done! Absentee ballots should be put in drop boxes, not mailed. Voting in person is until 7 pm. Bring photo IDs. Those in line can vote even after the polls close.. @Ossoff @ReverendWarnock #BlueSenate Good for GA. Good for America.