Though Democrats clinched one pivotal Senate race in Georgia and are narrowly ahead in another, continued vote-counting and expected litigation could delay knowing which party controls the chamber and slow the installation of key people in President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet, says Northeastern professor Daniel Urman.
In the Senate runoff election Tuesday, Democrat Raphael Warnock was declared the winner over Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler by 53,000 votes, according to multiple news outlets. Loeffler spoke to supporters before her race was called and said she would not concede.
Meanwhile, Democrat Jon Ossoff’s lead over Republican David Perdue stood at 16,000 votes as of early Wednesday morning. Both Warnock and Ossoff appear to have outperformed Biden’s margin of victory in the state over President Donald Trump.
Ossoff’s campaign issued a statement Tuesday night saying remaining uncounted votes are in areas where the candidate has done well, and expressing confidence in victory. Perdue’s campaign released its own statement promising to pursue legal options and also said its candidate would prevail.
It could take days to know the winner, says Urman, who teaches constitutional law, law and public policy, and the modern U.S. Supreme Court at Northeastern. Election officials will be more focused on getting it right than rushing the call, he adds.
“Given the inevitable election litigation, there’s definitely an incentive to get it right,’” Urman says, “even if it takes time.”