EXPLAINER: How Georgia’s midterm runoff elections work

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Two years ago, control of the US Senate passed to Georgia, with two major second-round election victories. Handed over to the House side in the hands of the Democrats.

This fall, the newly minted Battleground State may once again play a major role in how the Senate moves, with a marquee contest, thanks to a third-party nominee, who has only been decided. in the second round of elections a month later in November. can go. 8.

Here’s a look at the contenders and how Georgia’s Senate race — and possibly House control — might not be decided until December:

Who are the players?

The bulk of Georgia’s contest has centered on incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker, who polls show are heading for a close contest.

Warnock campaigned on Democrats’ legislative achievements such as coronavirus relief and improved infrastructure. Walker was surrounded with a variety of critical attention, including claiming to exaggerate her commercial success. Furthermore, it has been alleged in successive reports that he encouraged and paid for a woman’s abortion in 2009 and then gave birth to a child with her.

However, there is a third-party candidate that may affect the candidate’s ability to secure a majority on election night. Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver lost the 2020 special election to replace the late Rep. John Lewis, trying to become Georgia’s first LGBTQ candidate elected to Congress.

With a close race expected, it may not take a substantial chunk of the vote for Oliver, an Atlanta businessman, forcing a Nov. 8 runoff in Warnock or Walker receiving a majority.

How does trickling work?

Under Georgia law, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote on November 8, the Senate race will take place four weeks later – on December 6 – between the first two voters.

The state and federal runoff took place on different days, but a measure passed last year combines them into a single date. Before this year, the second round of federal general elections was held nine weeks later.

How has this been played before?

In 2020, control of the U.S. Senate fell to two contests in Georgia, both of which were won by the Democrats in a runoff that extended through the following calendar year. In their 2021 elections, John Osoff and Warnock became the first Democrats to win a US Senate election in Georgia since 2000.

Those victories kept Chambers on his 50-50 party control bar for the next two years, leaning into control of the Democrats, thanks to a decisive vote by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Unlike 2020, only one of those Georgian seats is in place this year. Osoff was elected to a full six-year term, defeating Republican Senator David Perdue and will not seek re-election until 2026.

The Warnock seat took possession in August 2019, when GOP Senator Johnny Isaacson announced he was stepping down due to health issues. Georgia’s governor temporarily nominated Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat, but she had to run in the November 2020 general election to fill Isaacson’s remaining two-year term.

After winning that contest, Warnock is now seeking his first full six-year term.

Why is this important?

With the Senate so tightly divided, any of the 35 ballot races this fall could decide control of the 100-seat chamber. A victory for Warnock and Osoff in 2021 boosted Biden’s fledgling administration in Congress, where Democratic Senate control, coupled with decisive Harris votes, helped spur legislative victory on a range of issues such as the COVID relief, the Inflation Reduction Act and . Administrative appointments.

Now, if Democrats can keep one of the two Senate seats they won two years ago, it could serve as a test of whether the longtime Republican stronghold continues to rock the state as a turnaround. . , in particular thanks to the demographic evolution of the economic dynamics. Metro Atlanta area.

In 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams inspired black voters in her bid to become the nation’s first African-American woman to lead a state, a campaign she narrowly lost. It’s up again this year as GOP Gov. Brian is in a rematch with Kemp.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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