As night falls here on the Left Coast, Georgia elections officials have begun releasing results in the state’s two hotly contested Senate runoff elections, as well as for a third position that went to runoffs — Public Service Commission District Four. Polls have closed in the Peach Tree State, but some people are still voting because they were in line waiting to vote when the polls closed.
It is far too early to draw any conclusions about the outcomes of these races, but CNN, MSNBC, and other networks are nonetheless doing their best to fill airtime by serving up helpings of exit polling and scouring the earliest returns for clues about the later returns. Less than ten percent of expected returns have been tabulated and released as of when this post was being drafted.
The runoffs pit two corrupt, Trump-serving Republican incumbents (David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler) against two dynamic Democratic challengers (the Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff). If Democrats win both, they’d be able to end Republican control of the Senate. If Republicans win both, or just one, they’ll remain in control of the chamber, likely until the 2022 midterms at least.
So far, the two sets of candidates have been performing about the same, meaning that in each set of early returns, Perdue and Loeffler have about the same amount of support and Warnock and Ossoff have about the same amount of support. The probability of a split seems low: it is likely that the election will end with either two Republican victories or two Democratic victories.
Ossoff and Warnock currently have small leads in their races, with about 13% reporting, but that could change at any moment.
“A jaw-dropping $833 million was spent to sway Georgia voters since the general election, and turnout is expected to break records,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “Nearly 3.1 million Georgians cast their votes early in-person or by mail, and voting on Tuesday was relatively drama-free.”
The paper’s Greg Bluestein, who has been called upon to contribute his expertise to cable news, characterized both sides as very nervous.
“Texts alternated between boasts about high turnout in a Democratic stronghold and evidence of robust participation in a middle Georgia precinct. Some Republicans were jubilant, others despondent,” the veteran political reporter related. “Democrats had the same nervous energy, with some campaign hands overjoyed and others fretting about light turnout in this or that district.”
Turnout is not expected to be as high as the November general election was, but could still be extraordinarily high for a runoff election.
Once most ballots are counted, we’ll have a better idea of where everything stands in this most important of unusually timed elections.