Democratic Senator Gary Peters hangs on in Michigan – meaning control of Senate could come down to Georgia run-off elections in January
- Democratic Senator Gary Peters won his reelection bid in Michigan despite a closer-than-anticipated challenge from Republican candidate John James
- James only lost by 1.7 per cent despite polls ahead of Election Day indicating Peters was in a solid lead and would win reelection by at least 5-7 per cent
- This latest result brings the Senate race to a dead heat at 48-48 – taking into account that both independent senators caucus with Democrats
- The outcome in Michigan also sets the pathway for Georgia likely deciding which party controls the Senate come January
- However, Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is facing a January runoff election after failing to earn 50 per cent of the vote
- Fellow Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue could also face a runoff as he is holding at exactly 50 per cent as the rest of the votes come in
The Democrat incumbent was able to hold on to his seat narrowly against Republican challenger John James in one of the most competitive and closely watched Senate elections in the nation, earning 49.9 per cent of the vote to James’ 48.2 per cent – a margin of 1.7 per cent.
Polls got it wrong again with the Michigan Senate race, indicating ahead of Election Day that Peters would solidly take the win with at least 5-7 per cent of the vote.
This outcome means the makeup of the Senate will mostly rely on elections held in January in Georgia, a state that requires candidates to earn 50 per cent of the vote to outright win or else force a runoff election.
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler’s runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock is being scheduled after neither candidate came close to the 50 per cent needed, instead earning 26.1 percent and 32.7 per cent respectively.
Democratic Senator Gary Peters (pictured) won his reelection bid in Michigan despite a closer-than-anticipated challenge from Republican John James
John James (pictured) gave the incumbent candidate a run for his money, only losing by 1.7 per cent despite polls indicating Peters was in a solid lead and would win by 5-7 per cent
This latest outcome brings the Senate race to a dead heat with 48-48 – taking into account that both independent senators caucus with Democrats
This also sets the pathway for Georgia elections likely deciding which party controls the Senate. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler (left) is facing a runoff in January after failing to earn 50 per cent of the vote, and fellow Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue (right) could also face a runoff as he is holding at exactly 50 per cent as of Thursday morning
Loeffler will faec Democratic candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock in January
Perdue is facing off against Democratic candidate John Ossoff in a race that has not yet been called
Many of potential Loeffler votes were siphoned off by Georgia’s Republican Representative for its 9th District, Doug Collins, who launched a Senate bid.
Loeffler was never elected to her seat. Instead, in December 2019, she was selected by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to succeed Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons.
Republican David Perdue, the other senator for Georgia, has not yet been declared the winner – leaving it up-in-the-air whether he could also face a runoff against Democratic challenger John Ossoff.
With 98 per cent of the vote reporting as of Thursday morning, however, Perdue in a 2.3 per cent lead holding exactly 50 per cent of the vote. As the last few ballots filter in, if the Republican incumbent can hold onto that lead, or widen it, he could be declared the victor.
With such a close margin for a majority, it’s likely that the final decision could come down to whether Loeffler and Perdue were to win their respective races – which may not be known until days before the swearing in.
Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina was also one of the Republicans thought to be most at risk in the 2020 election. Although the race has still not been called in the Tar Heel State, Tillis is leading with 48.7 per cent of the vote with 93 per cent reporting.
His Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham holds 46.9 per cent of the vote – a slim 1.8 per cent margin.
Even though presidential Democratic nominee Joe Biden held a solid polling lead through the summer and fall in Michigan, it soon turned into one of the most hotly contested Senate battlegrounds.
The presidential race is still up in the air as several states continue counting mail-in ballots and President Donald Trump has launched legal battles in states he said have not practiced proper election procedures – including Michigan
James, who ran again after outperforming expectations and losing by 7 points in 2018 against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, returned to deliver an even closer race in 2020.
The rust belt state is also one of the battlegrounds most important for either Biden or President Donald Trump securing the White House.
Although Michigan has already been called for Biden with 99 per cent reporting showing a 2.7 per cent margin between the two candidates, Trump has launched a lawsuit against the state.
Trump’s campaign claims poll watchers in the state where not allowed to observe as ballots were counted – furthering his insistence that mail-in ballots are just a ploy for Democrats to ‘steal’ the election for Biden.