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Georgia Senate race between Perdue, Ossoff heads to runoff

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Democrat Jon Ossoff are heading to a runoff Senate election. 

The Associated Press made the call shortly after 10 p.m. EDT.

The Senate race in Georgia was left unresolved on Tuesday after neither candidate managed to clear the 50 percent threshold needed to win the election outright. A runoff election is tentatively set for Jan. 5. 

The race between Ossoff and Perdue was among the most competitive in the country, with both parties seeing the seat as crucial to the balance of power in the Senate. 

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber, meaning that Democrats need to pick up at least three or four GOP-held seats, depending on which party wins the White House, to take control of the Senate.

But it also amounted to something of a battle for Georgia’s political future. The Peach State has been considered relatively safe territory for Republicans for decades. But its electorate has become more diverse and an influx of new residents have poured into the state in recent years, reshaping its political landscape. 

Perdue, a wealthy former corporate executive who was first elected to the Senate in 2014, tied himself closely to Trump throughout his reelection bid. 

But he suffered at times from a series of self-inflicted wounds. He drew a volley of Democratic criticism last month after repeatedly mispronouncing Sen. Kamala Harris’s (D-Calif.) name at a rally with President Trump. And he faced scrutiny for buying stock in a company that sells personal protective equipment after senators received a classified briefing on the threat posed by the coronavirus in January.

Perdue, who was not at the briefing, has denied any wrongdoing, and the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission and Senate Ethics Committee have cleared him in the matter. Perdue’s campaign has said that his stock trades are managed by outside advisers.

But the stock purchase fueled attacks from Ossoff, who labeled the GOP senator a “crook” during a late-October debate.

–Updated on Nov. 7 at 11:08 a.m. 

Tags 2020 election David Perdue Donald Trump Georgia politics Georgia Senate race Jon Ossoff runoff

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