ATLANTA (CN) — Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff declared victory Wednesday over Republican Senator David Perdue in Georgia’s runoff race, a win that if confirmed would give President-elect Joe Biden’s party control over the chamber.
Although a winner has not yet been called in the tight race, Ossoff declared victory via a video message Wednesday morning. Perdue has not conceded the race.
In the other runoff election, Democrat Raphael Warnock is projected to win against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. Warnock will make history as Georgia’s first Black senator. Loeffler has also not yet conceded the race.
With 99% of precincts reporting by 10 a.m. Eastern time, Ossoff was leading with 50.19% of the vote compared to Perdue’s 49.81%.
If Ossoff’s lead holds, the balance in the Senate will shift to a 50-50 tie, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.
Turnout in Tuesday’s runoff election shattered Georgia records, with 4.4 million votes counted by Wednesday morning. According to state election officials, most of the votes still to be counted are in Democratic-leaning counties.
The narrow margin in the Ossoff and Perdue race could trigger a recount. Georgia law allows a losing candidate to request a recount if the final margin is 0.5 percentage points or less.
The results of Tuesday’s election are further evidence of a seismic electoral shift in the Peach State after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.
With Warnock’s confirmed win, Georgia will send a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 20 years.
“We were told that we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we prove that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible. May my story be an inspiration to some young person who is trying to grasp and grab hold of the American dream,” Warnock said in a livestream early Wednesday morning.
Loeffler, meanwhile, vowed to continue fighting in an address to her supporters late Tuesday.
“We’ve got some work to do here,” she said. “This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer welcomed Warnock and Ossoff to the Senate in a statement Wednesday and looked optimistically to Democrats’ new ability to pursue their agenda, saying, “It feels like a brand new day.”
“For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people,” Schumer said. “America is experiencing one of the greatest crises we have ever faced, and the Senate Democratic majority is committed to delivering the bold change and help Americans need and demand. Senate Democrats know America is hurting — help is on the way.”