It may sound familiar: a runoff in Georgia will help determine the balance of power in the United States Senate.
Because neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican football legend Herschel Walker won a majority of the vote on Nov. 8, Georgia law requires the two to run in a second election on Dec. 6. Warnock came close to avoiding a runoff, receiving 49.4 percent of the vote compared to Walker’s 48.5 percent and Libertarian Chase Oliver’s 2.1 percent.
It’s a similar situation to two years ago, when both Georgia Senate races were unsettled on Election Day and headed to overtime on Jan. 5, 2021.
Unlike last cycle, the outcome of this contest will not determine which party controls the Senate. Democrats have already secured the 50 seats they need to hold the upper chamber, aided by the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
But having 51 senators, rather than 50, is still important for Democrats. It would allow the party to scrap the power-sharing arrangement in place for the past two years, and would greatly speed up the pace at which the chamber can confirm judges — likely its primary role in a divided Congress.
And with an eye toward a brutal 2024 Senate map, every additional seat better positions Democrats to maintain their majority in two years.
Inside Elections has rated this race a Toss-up for the entirety of the cycle. It was close on Nov. 8 and the finale is likely to be close as well. But it’s hard to see how Warnock and Walker each…