Facebook Twitter

What happened during the 2021 Georgia Senate runoffs

We followed the Georgia Senate runoffs, which determined the majority of the Senate.

SHARE What happened during the 2021 Georgia Senate runoffs
Two women pray during a Republican election-night watch party, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Atlanta.

Two women pray during a Republican election-night watch party, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Atlanta.


All eyes were on Georgia as a pair of Senate runoff races determined the majority of the U.S. Senate, which may have a lasting impact on President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency.

Here’s a look at the highlights from the runoff elections.

Ossoff wins election to U.S. Senate

Wednesday, 2:23 p.m.

Democrat Jon Ossoff has won election to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, defeating incumbent Sen. David Perdue, according to the Associated Press.

  • The victory creates a 50-50 split in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be a tiebreaker, which gives Democrats the majority in the Senate.

Final Georgia Senate runoff race hangs in the balance

Wednesday, 6:47 a..m.

The race between Republican David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff remains in the balance with a neck-and-neck race, per The New York Times.

  • Thousands of votes are still being counted as of Wednesday morning.
  • Many of the votes are coming from Democrat-leaning areas of Georgia, which suggests the race may lean in Ossoff’s favor.
  • Per The New York Times: “Both political parties were on edge overnight given the extraordinary stakes, with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s ability to enact much of his agenda hanging in the balance.”

Warnock defeats Loeffler, AP projects

Wednesday, 1:20 a.m.

Democrat Raphael Warnock was projected to win election to the US Senate early Wednesday morning, defeating GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a race that was too close to call early in the night.

The projection would put the Democrats one seat away from controlling the Senate.

The other race, which features Democrat Jon Ossoff against Republican David Perdue, is still too close to call. As of 1:20 a.m. MST, CNN gave Ossoff a slim lead over Perdue, 50.1% to 49.9%.

Races too close to call, but signs point toward Democratic victory

Tuesday, 10:28 p.m.

The New York Times issued new numbers late into the night, showing two tight races.

  • Perdue (Republican) led Ossoff (Democrat) by 1,869 votes, 50.01% to 49.99%
  • Warnock (Democrat) led Loeffler (Republican) by 35,031 votes, 50.41% to 49.59%

One note: The remaining votes to be counted in the first Senate race were estimated to be mostly mail-in and early votes. Many of those votes were predicted to be for Ossoff, according to The New York Times’ Nate Cohn.

President Trump reacts to Georgia election

Tuesday, 8:45 p.m.

The Georgia Senate runoffs remained tight as the night went on. Early results showed the race leaning in favor of the Democrats. President Donald Trump issued a statement on Twitter that reacted to the state of play.

  • “Looks like they are setting up a big ‘voter dump’ against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?”

Twitter flagged the tweet with a note that linked to information on the election and Twitter’s own integrity policy.

Polls close across Georgia; too close to call

Tuesday, 6:01 p.m.

Polling locations across Georgia closed at 5 p.m. MST as state officials continued to count votes.

  • The Senate races were deemed too close to call, NBC News reports.
  • Democrats went into Tuesday with a lead in the early voting. But high Republican turnout could swing the vote in favor of the GOP, who often cast their votes in person, according to NBC News.

Both sides expect the race to be close. It might not be until Wednesday morning — if not longer — for the results to arrive.

Quick details on the race

  • Polls in Georgia opened at 7 a.m. EST.
  • Polls closed at 7 p.m. EST. However, voters who are in line as of 7 p.m. can still cast a ballot, NBC News reports.
  • Close to 3 million people have already cast ballots during the early voting period that began on Dec. 14.

If Democrats win both races in Georgia, the Senate would be split 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris having a tiebreaker vote. Since Harris is a Democrat, the Senate would likely be considered a Democrat majority, giving Biden a full Democratic Congress to kick off his presidency.