Georgia’s two runoff elections were too close to call Tuesday night, leaving it unclear whether Democrats or Republicans will run the U.S. Senate.
Analysts have described the Georgia contests as “about as close as you can get,” and there are some expectations of a long wait before winners are declared.
With 69% of the expected vote total reported around 9:30 p.m. Eastern, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue was leading Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff by 1.3 percentage points, according to data aggregated by the Associated Press. In the other runoff, incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler was ahead of Democrat Raphael Warnock by 0.5 point.
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has said the races aren’t likely to be called on Tuesday night.
“Depends how close it is, but most likely it’ll probably be tomorrow morning. It really depends how many absentee ballots,” Raffensperger said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday morning.
Betting markets and polls on Tuesday afternoon were signaling some confidence in the Democratic candidates’ prospects.
Republicans already control 50 seats following November’s elections and can remain the majority party in the 100-seat Senate by winning just one of the two Georgia races. They then would provide a check on policies backed by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic-run House of Representatives.
Democrats need to triumph in both Georgia contests to take charge of the Senate. They would have control because a Democratic vice president, Kamala Harris, would cast tie-breaking votes.
Polling stations closed at 7 p.m. Eastern Tuesday after Georgians flocked to them to cast their ballots, though all voting didn’t stop in the state at that time. A court order, for example, extended voting for about half an hour at two polling locations in Chatham County, according to local news reports.
An AP survey of voters in Georgia’s runoffs found that about three-quarters of supporters of the state’s incumbent Republican senators said President-elect Joe Biden was not legitimately elected in November.
The runoff elections in Georgia have the potential to inject volatility into the stock market SPX, +0.71%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.55% closed modestly higher Tuesday, after suffering its biggest drop since late October on Monday.