The race between Senator David Perdue (R., Ga.) and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff was officially declared for a runoff on Friday evening, in a further test of Republicans’ Senate majority.
Perdue won 49.8 percent of the vote as of Saturday morning, to Ossoff’s 47.9 percent. Georgia law mandates a runoff election if a candidate fails to win a majority of votes cast.
Already on Tuesday, the special election for Georgia’s other Senate seat was called for a runoff, in which Republican Kelly Loeffler will face off against Democrat Raphael Warnock. Both runoff elections will be scheduled for January 5, about two weeks before inauguration day.
“Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are going to win these two U.S. Senate races, and we will defend the Republican majority,” Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry said in a statement to National Review. “We are excited for overtime – it gives us even more time to continue exposing Jon Ossoff and his radical socialist agenda. Jon Ossoff does two things well: burn through out-of-state liberal money and lose elections.”
Ossoff told supporters on Friday morning that “change has come to Georgia. Change is coming to America. And retirement is coming to Senator David Perdue.”
Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. With most of this year’s Senate races already called, Republicans have retained definitive control over 48 seats to 46 for Democrats, according to the Associated Press.
Two other seats appear poised to remain in Republican hands, with Thom Tillis of North Carolina leading by almost 100,000 votes with 98 percent of results tallied, and Dan Sullivan of Alaska the likely winner of his Senate race. If these results hold, Republicans will have 50 seats going into the runoff elections for Perdue and Loeffler.