Dhe runoff elections in the American state of Georgia for two Senate seats have become head-to-head. After the vast majority of the votes had been counted, the rivals were, according to the American media, on the night of Wednesday (local time) in both races. The Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock challenge previous Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Shortly before midnight, CNN reported a Republican Perdues lead of just 456 votes – with more than four million votes counted and a count of over 95 percent. In the second run-off election, the Democrat Warnoch was a bit clearer, but still just ahead. Fox News broadcast similar numbers. The Democrat Warnock has already declared himself the winner.
But officially the result is still pending. “It’s very tight,” the state’s top election overseer Brad Raffensperger told CNN. For this reason, the counting of votes could continue until midday: “Hopefully by midday we will have a better idea of where we are,” said Raffensperger. The State Secretary pointed out that in addition to thousands of votes not yet counted from various districts, around 17,000 ballots, including from military personnel abroad, were expected, which could become important in view of the tight race. The deadline for the receipt of these postal voting documents expires on Friday at 5 p.m. (local time / 11 p.m. CET).
Crucial role for Kamala Harris?
The runoff elections in the southern state will determine the future majority in the Senate – and how much leeway the future President Joe Biden can hope for in the first two years of his term in office. Because the outcome of the Georgia elections depends on whether Biden’s Democrats can still gain control of the Senate. The Republicans of the outgoing President Donald Trump only have one more seat to keep the majority in the House of Parliament. Among other things, the Senate confirms presidential candidates for government posts and can block bills.
On November 3, parallel to the presidential election, around a third of the Senate seats were up for a vote. In Georgia, however, none of the Senate candidates achieved the necessary absolute majority in the first round. That made the runoff elections necessary.
The democratic candidates would both have to prevail so that there is a stalemate with 50 to 50 votes in the chamber. A stalemate could then be resolved ex officio by future Vice President Kamala Harris in favor of the Democrats.