And you thought election season was over.
Politicos and pundits are just peachy now that Georgia will send its two U.S. Senate races to runoff elections that will eventually decide control of the Senate.
With the Senate split at 48-48 and Republican leads in uncalled races in North Carolina and Alaska, the two Georgia spots will either shift the Senate to Republican control or make a split that would effectively give the Democrats control, with Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vice president.
Georgia has become a new battleground after Joe Biden was projected to narrowly capture the state’s electoral votes in the presidential election against Donald Trump.
“All eyes will be on Georgia for the next two months,” Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie told NPR. “There will be record spending, unprecedented campaigning and tons of mudslinging in these races – more than what we’re used to seeing.”
Candidates needed 50% of the vote to win, but none achieved that threshold. Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue landed at 49.8% in his race against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who had 47.8%, with Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel getting 2.3%. Only Perdue and Ossoff will be in the runoff election on Jan. 5, two days after the Senate convenes.
Georgia was the only state with two Senate elections this year, and the other race was much more divided and will lead to another runoff election. Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock received 25.9% and 32.9% of the vote, respectively. Republican Doug Collins raked in 20% and Democrat Deborah Jackson 6.6%.
A Democrat has not won a Georgia Senate seat in 20 years. Tens of millions of campaign dollars are expected to be spent by both sides in the runoffs.
It’s a good thing Georgia election officials don’t have anything else going on. Oh, wait – Georgia is going to conduct a recount of its presidential election votes.