Edison Research projects that Democrat Jon Ossoff will defeat Republican David Perdue in Georgia, cementing the state’s historic blue shift and giving Democrats control of the Senate — paving the way for their legislative agenda in the first years of President-elect Joe Biden’s term.
Perdue, a Republican who was first elected in 2014, faced Ossoff in a fierce, expensive campaign overshadowed by President Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. The two had been forced into a runoff after neither candidate got 50 percent of the vote in November.
Ossoff’s victory, along with that of Democrat Raphael Warnock, mark a turning point in a Republican bastion where Biden also prevailed, in the culmination of years of political organizing. Democrats turned out in force for the hugely consequential race amid concerns that the president’s attacks on election integrity could discourage Republicans.
Some members of the GOP blame President Trump for the Democratic sweep that will reshape national politics.
“You need to have a unified team with a unified message looking to the future,” Gabriel Sterling, a top state election official and Republican, said earlier Wednesday during a news conference. He faulted Trump for attacking members of his own party over the voting process, instead of focusing on Warnock and Ossoff.
Ossoff leads Perdue by more than 24,800 votes, capturing 50.3 percent of the vote to Perdue’s 49.7 percent. Ossoff’s margin is over the recount threshold, and Edison predicted his margin will continue to grow once the remaining votes are counted.
Warnock leads his opponent Kelly Loeffler (R) by 1.4 percentage points, also above the 0.5 percentage-point threshold for a recount.
Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide who has never held public office, will be the youngest newly elected Democratic senator since Joe Biden in 1973. He declared victory earlier, thanking Georgia voters “for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.”
Scott Clement contributed to this report.