Attendees wait for President-elect Joe Biden to be introduced at a drive-in rally for Georgia Democratic candidates for US Senate Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

With one day left until election day in the Georgia Senate runoff, polls are tight in the two races that will decide which party controls the upper chamber of Congress during the first years of the Biden administration.

As no candidate attained 50 per cent of the vote on 3 November, both races are being run again on 5 January.

Incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue is running for re-election against Democrat Jon Ossoff in a regularly scheduled election.

Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat by Governor Brian Kemp after Senator Johnny Isakson resigned, is facing off against Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock in a special election.

At present the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party with 50 seats to the Democrats’ 48, so Democrats need to win both races to gain control.

Read more: Georgia Senate runoff elections – explained

While this would tie the parties, it is a tie that could be broken by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who would cast a deciding vote on any legislation in her role as President of the Senate after 20 January’s inauguration.

Both races are incredibly close with FiveThirtyEight putting Mr Perdue at 47.6 per cent to Mr Ossoff’s 48.5 per cent, and Mr Warnock at 49.6 per cent to Ms Loeffler’s 47.6 per cent in its polling averages as of 1 January.

The RealClearPolitics polling average puts Mr Ossoff ahead on 49.7 per cent to Mr Perdue’s 47.9 per cent, and has Reverend Warnock ahead by 1.8 points on 49.8 per cent, to Ms Loeffler’s 48 per cent as of 1 January.

Such tight margins mean that turnout is going to be vital, and Georgians know it, with 2.34 million having already voted by 28 December — more than the total in any previous runoff election. There are still seven days of voting to go.

In the presidential election on 3 November, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 2,473,633 votes to 2,461,854, a margin of just under 12,000. It is the first time a Democrat has won Georgia since 1992.

There are worries within the Republican Party that the president’s constant unfounded talk of electoral fraud and rigged ballots may discourage some of his supporters from participating. Both GOP candidates and their surrogates are therefore working hard to get out the vote to counter this possibility.

Read more: Is David Perdue a Trumpist or a moderate?

Democrats meanwhile are hammering home the message to their supporters that the success of the incoming Biden presidency may hinge on being able to pass legislation quickly and cleanly through both chambers of Congress — making these Senate races vitally important.

While betting on elections is not allowed in the US (with a few exceptions), Draftkings Nation has translated wagers from overseas into moneyline odds — offered bets with a minus sign cost that much to win $100 and those with a plus sign pay that amount if someone wagers $100 and also refund the original stake.

Betfair currently has Perdue on -189 and Ossoff on +138; and Loeffler on -149 and Warnock on +110.

Ladbrokes has Perdue on -200 and Ossoff on +150; and Loeffler on -189 and Warnock on +138.

While these are big leads for the Republican candidates, turnout, and enthusiasm still could favour the Democrats, and Georgia was one of the biggest surprises for pollsters and gamblers on election night.



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