Second Georgia Senate race will go to a runoff, setting up showdown for Senate control

Key Points
  • The second Georgia Senate race between GOP Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will go to a runoff.
  • Along with the runoff race between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, it will determine control of the Senate.
  • Democrats will already control the House and White House.
David Perdue and Jon Ossoff, candidates for U.S. Senate in Georgia.
Reuters; Getty Images

A second U.S. Senate race in Georgia will go to a January runoff, setting up a showdown for the Senate majority, according to NBC News.

Republican Sen. David Perdue will not break the 50% threshold needed to win outright in this month's election and will again face Democrat Jon Ossoff next year. Georgia will host two runoffs on Jan. 5, the other being a special election between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock to finish the remainder of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson's term.

Republicans have won 50 Senate seats so far, according to NBC. Democrats have flipped one net seat for a total of 48.

Pollster and strategist Frank Luntz on the tight Senate races in Georgia
Pollster and strategist Frank Luntz on the tight Senate races in Georgia

Winning both Georgia elections would get them to an even split, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a tiebreaking vote and Democrats unified control of the White House and Congress. Both parties focused their attention and money on Georgia when it appeared two runoffs would determine Senate control.

Perdue, the first-term senator and former business executive, faced Ossoff, a former journalist who lost a tight, high-profile U.S. House special election in 2017.

Ossoff has criticized Perdue for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including federal investigations into his stock trading around the start of the U.S. Covid-19 crisis. Meanwhile, Perdue has tried to paint Ossoff as pursuing a "radical socialist agenda."

The race drew national attention and extensive funding as Democrats hoped to flip the Senate in 2020. Ossoff's campaign raised more than $32.3 million while Perdue's campaign collected about $21.1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator since 1996, but a growing young and non-White electorate has helped shift the state into battleground status.

Polling averages suggested a close race between Perdue and Ossoff.

Perdue won his 2014 Senate race by a margin of about 8 percentage points.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.