Georgia’s election results are in, and the winner of the race that could determine control of the US Senate is…nobody. Not yet, anyway.
The polls are closed. Only four other Senate races have not yet been called. But multiple media outlets are projecting that neither incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor GOP nominee Herschel Walker will win a majority of the vote in Georgia.
Because neither major candidate surpassed the 50-percent threshold needed to win—thanks in part to Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, who currently has 2 percent of the vote—Warnock and Walker will face off again in a December 6 runoff.
Georgia is one of just a handful of states that use runoffs to decide Senate races.
This is not the first time this has happened in the Peach State: A similar situation unfolded in the 2020 cycle, when both Warnock and Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents in runoffs.
Warnock, a Baptist pastor at the church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, held a narrow lead in the polls over Walker up until the very end of October, at which point Walker narrowly overtook him, according to polling averaged by FiveThirtyEight. Warnock currently leads that actual vote count by about 1 percentage point.
Meanwhile, Walker, a Heisman Trophy Winner and 12-season NFL player, has been beset by a string of scandals: The anti-abortion candidate has been accused of encouraging multiple women to obtain abortions, and funding them. He’s also alleged to be an absentee father to some of his children, despite calling the absence of fathers “a major, major problem” in Black households. And then there are his confusing statements about being healed of his rare, and controversial mental health diagnosis: dissociative identity disorder. (Some experts say it is generally a condition that requires prolonged treatment; other experts doubt the condition exists at all.)
While incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp’s commanding win over Democrat Stacey Abrams—he’s ahead 53-46 as of Wednesday morning—indicates that some Republican-leaning voters in Georgia couldn’t stomach voting for Walker, the embattled candidate won over enough Republicans to earn another month on the campaign trail.
One reason for that may be that, for many, the race was more about gaining control of the Senate than about supporting any specific candidate. “I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles,” conservative commentator Dana Loesch said, for example. “I want control of the Senate.”
Whether Republicans get that control remains to be seen. They’d have to win three out of the four remaining uncalled Senate races.