Georgia Senate Runoffs: Overview and Live Results

January 5, 2021

Georgia voters will decide the outcome of their two U.S. Senate seats in runoff elections Tuesday. Their choices will also determine which party controls the Senate in the new Congress. The runoffs were necessitated when no candidate in either race received 50% of the vote in the elections on November 3, as required by Georgia law.

Polls close at 7:00 PM ET. Live results will appear below.

Regular Election: Perdue (R) vs. Ossoff (D)

This is for a full six-year term. As the prior term ended with the start of the new Congress, the seat is currently vacant. In November, incumbent Republican David Perdue finished first by about 1.8%, narrowly missing the 50% threshold. Democrat Jon Ossoff finished second.

Special Election: Loeffler (R) vs. Warnock (D)

The special election is to complete the final two years of the term of Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons at the end of 2019. Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to serve until the special election; she remains in the Senate pending the outcome of Tuesday's vote. An all-party primary was held in November. Warnock received 33% support and Loeffler 26%. There were 20 candidates on the ballot; Loeffler split much of the conservative GOP vote with former Rep. Doug Collins who finished third with 20%.

Both races are seen as toss-ups.  Polling has been limited, with many well-regarded pollsters sitting out the race. The final 270toWin polling average in each race shows a small lead for the Democratic candidate, but most polls have been well within the margin of error. Georgia was the closest state in the 2020 presidential election; Joe Biden prevailed by about 0.25%.

History and polarization say a split decision is unlikely. The last time a double-barrel Senate election led to each party winning one seat was in 1966. In addition, there are currently only six states where each party has one seat.1 1Includes Maine but excludes Vermont. Those two states have independent Senators that caucus with the Democrats. In the case of Maine, the 2nd Senator is a Republican. This is the smallest number since direct election of Senators began over 100 years ago. 

These articles provides a more detailed overview of the races, including money spent, early voting trends and what to watch for on Tuesday:

Senate in the balance: How Georgia's runoffs break down

Georgia Senate Runoffs: What to Watch For

Republicans will retain control of the Senate with a win in either race. A Democratic victory in both would yield a 50-50 Senate. In that scenario, Democrats will take control after the Biden administration gets underway January 20. Vice-president Kamala Harris becomes president of the Senate at that time and is able to cast tie-breaking votes. 

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