Georgia Runoffs Live Updates
Updated: Jan 5, 2021
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Starting at 4:00 PM on January 5th and continuing until we know the winners, I will be providing live coverage of the Georgia Senate runoffs here, with video updates and early projections of each election. I'll also be making Q&A videos where I answer questions from readers. Submit one here! Please note that I will be declaring winners whenever I am more than 95% certain of the result, a lower confidence interval than that of most news networks, which will only call an election if they are more than 99.5% certain of the result. This is the reason that I will often call elections before the networks do. I've been calling elections early for several years and have never declared the wrong winner -- and I don't intend to start now! However, there is a greater risk that I won't not call every contest correctly.
8:05 PM Jon Ossoff is projected to defeat incumbent Sen. David Perdue, winning a full six-year term in the Senate, handing Democrats a razor-thin Senate majority.
7:05 PM Raphael Warnock is projected to defeat Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the special election to a term ending in 2023, becoming the second Black senator to represent a state that belonged to the Confederacy since Reconstruction (the first was Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina).
7:00 PM State of the Race NB: I mostly focused on the Warnock-Loeffler race here, but the other election is in a very similar situation, although with a slightly smaller Democratic advantage
6:15 PM State of the Race
5:25 PM Some very early signs of Democratic victory are beginning to materialize, such as a very strong showing in exurban Douglass County, where both candidates are significantly outperforming Joe Biden, and a slight lowering of Republicans' margins in rural areas, which suggests that GOP turnout will decline more than the Democrats'
4:50 PM There has yet to be any significant shift in results from the Nov. 3 results in counties that have reported significant numbers of votes.
4:40 PM Watch for the margins in Cherokee, Forsyth, and Hall counties (all yet to report large numbers of votes). These are the last major population centers in Georgia to remain predominantly conservative. If Ossoff and Warnock can cut into the GOP's margins there more than Biden did in November, that could counteract the effect of lower voter turnout, and would foretell that this might be a good night for the Democrats.
4:30 PM Something interesting to note is that, in the minimal number of votes that have been reported, Raphael Warnock is out-performing fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff by about a percentage point across the board. Interestingly, the difference is about the same in Fulton County, which is 44% Black, and in the predominately white suburbs of Gwinnett County, so race doesn't seem to be a factor. The difference is too small to make a difference unless the margins are going to be very tight, but the consistency does indicate that Warnock has resonated more with voters. However, the small difference in their performances makes a split-verdict unlikely. Additionally, polling indicating that which party they wanted to control the Senate was a primary factor in voters' decisions suggests that ticket-splitting will be somewhat rare, indicating that one party or the other is likely to make a clean sweep of both Senate seats.
4:20 PM We're receiving a few early results from various counties, but each county that is currently reporting results has only counted a small share of its votes, so it is very difficult to extrapolate any predictive insights from these early results, since I do not know which precincts the votes came from.
4:10 PM Q&A: Why These Elections Are So Hard To Predict
4:00 PM Polls close, except for a few polling locations that are being kept open late due to long lines. The vast majority of ballots, however, were cast by mail or early at in-person voting locations
1:00 PM Q&A: When Will We Know The Winner?
11:30 AM Background
Both of Georgia's Senate seats are up for election today. In one election, Kelly Loeffler, who filled Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat after his resignation, faces Raphael Warnock, the reverend of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In the other election, Sen. David Purdue is running against Jon Ossoff. The runoff elections were triggered by Rev. Warnock and Sen. Purdue's failure to win an outright majority of the vote on November 3rd. For Democrats to gain the Senate majority, and thus control of both houses of Congress in addition to the presidency, they must win both seats. If they win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break the tie to give Democrats the majority.