For the second election in a row, the competitive Georgia Senate race will go to a runoff next month after neither candidate secured enough to meet the threshold to win the seat.
Votes continued to be counted into early afternoon on Wednesday before the runoff was announced between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Republican college football and NFL star athlete Herschel Walker, who is backed by former President Donald Trump.
At press time, Warnock held a slight lead over Walker with 49.4% of the votes compared to Walker’s 48.5%, with Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver garnering 2.1%.
The state is unique in that if no candidate passes the 50% threshold, a runoff is held between the top two. That is what happened for both of the state’s Senate seats in 2020; then, the Democrats won both races, sealing their precarious control of the legislature for the next two years.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday that ballots were already being prepared for the runoff between Warnock and Walker, which will occur on Dec. 6.
The race is likely to decide which party controls the Senate for the next two years.
While Georgia is not known for its Jewish population, the state’s competitive Senate race grabbed the attention of Jewish organizations on both sides of the political spectrum.
Both candidates were endorsed by pro-Israel organizations along partisan lines, with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) endorsing Walker on June 15 and subsequently hosting fundraisers for him.
Warnock, who was seeking his first full term after winning a special election for the seat over Republican Kelly Loeffler in 2020, appeared to have ingratiated himself to Jewish Democratic groups over two years in the Senate despite having been attacked in his first campaign for his praise of anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.
The Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) PAC endorsed Warnock on July 28, citing his pro-Israel record, despite Warnock also having the endorsement of the J Street PAC.