"For the next eight weeks, Georgia will be the center of the political universe." So writes FiveThirtyEight in explaining that control of the Senate will come down to the fewer than 5 million voters who live in Georgia. With the North Carolina Senate race decided in GOP Sen. Thom Tillis' favor on Tuesday and Alaska's seat called for GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan on Wednesday, that gives us 48 Democratic seats to 50 Republican ones. The remaining two seats will be determined in dual runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. So how's it looking, and who are the major players? What you need to know:
- The candidates: Republicans currently hold both seats. It's GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler vs. Democrat Raphael Warnock, and GOP Sen. David Perdue vs Democrat Jon Ossoff.
- The polling: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports "the first major publicly released poll" of the runoffs, conducted Sunday and Monday by a GOP-leaning group, found no obvious leading candidate. Loeffler is ahead of Warnock 49% to 48%, but 3% of voters are undecided and the margin of error is 2.6 percentage points. Perdue leads Ossoff 50% to 46%, with 4% undecided.
- How'd we get here? As to why Georgia's races weren't decided when the rest of America's were, FiveThirtyEight explains the state's "unusual requirement" that a candidate must get a majority of the vote to win; otherwise, the Nos. 1 and 2 candidates move to a runoff. The site says this outcome was expected in Georgia's special election for Senate, as there were 20 candidates on the ballot. Indeed, no one came close, with Warnock taking 32.9% to Loeffler's 25.9%. But as of now Perdue is just a hair behind where he needs to be at 49.7%. Ossoff got 48%, with Libertarian Shane Hazel scooping up the rest.