Both of Georgia’s US Senate races appeared headed to runoff elections when Republican Sen. David Perdue’s lead slipped below 50 percent Thursday.
The development could leave control of the Senate undetermined until next year.
Updated, unofficial results gave Perdue 49.98 percent of the vote, with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff holding 47.71 percent and 2.31 percent going to Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel, according to reports.
Under Georgia law, a candidate must capture at least 50 percent of the vote to win an election or face a runoff against the second-place finisher.
The Peach State’s other senator, Republican Kelly Loeffler, is already projected to battle Democrat Raphael Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, in a Jan. 5 runoff following Tuesday’s crowded “jungle primary” special election.
Warnock finished first with 32.74 percent and Loeffler was second with 26.05 percent, according to preliminary results compiled by Fox News.
Republicans now control the Senate 53-47, meaning Democrats need to gain four seats for guaranteed control but only three if Joe Biden defeats President Trump.
The outcome would allow Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, to cast a tie-breaking vote if the Senate deadlocked 50-50.
Unofficial election results show next year’s Senate is now split 48-48 following elections Tuesday in which 35 seats were up for grabs.
Republicans flipped seats in Arizona and Colorado, while the GOP flipped a seat in Alabama, according to Fox News projections.
In addition to Georgia, races remain undecided in North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Thom Tillis declared victory Tuesday night and holds a narrow lead, and in Alaska, where Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan holds a nearly 2-to-1 lead but only about half of the votes have been counted.
Both Senate races in Georgia are likely to result in runoff elections The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.