None of the major candidates in either race is above the 50 percent threshold required for a win under the state’s unique election law
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
ATLANTA (CFP) — Races for U.S. Senator and governor in Georgia appear heading for December runoffs, thanks to close races, support for third-party Libertarians and the Peach State’s unique requirement of general election runoffs if no candidate wins a majority on election day.
A runoff could leave control of the Senate hanging in the balance until January 6 if Georgia’s race is needed to decide the balance of power.
Recent polling in the Senate race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue shows both candidates neck-and-neck within the margin of error but short of 50 percent.
The Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, a lawyer and former city councilwoman in Flowery Branch, is polling between 3 and 6 percent – enough to cause a runoff if the battle between Perdue and Nunn is close.
Likewise, in the race for governor, the Republican incumbent, Governor Nathan Deal, and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Jason Carter, are within the margin of error but below 50 percent, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt, an Atlanta technology executive, polling at about 5 percent.
Georgia is the only state in the union that has a general election runoff. The runoff for governor would be December 2, but the runoff for Senate would not happen until January 6.
Louisiana has a slightly different system in which candidates from all parties run in a primary in November, with a runoff set for December 6 if no candidate gets a majority.
The U.S. Senate race in Louisiana also appears to be heading for a runoff, with recent polls showing both incumbent U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her GOP challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, polling in the low to mid 40s.
In the Georgia Senate race, Nunn and Perdue, both political newcomers, are seeking the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. Nunn is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, while Perdue is a cousin of former Governor Sonny Perdue.
In the governor’s race, Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, has run a surprisingly strong campaign against Deal, who is seeking a second term as the state’s chief executive after serving more than 17 years in Congress.
Deal’s prospects for re-election may have been harmed by the state’s sluggish response to a January snowstorm that paralyzed metro Atlanta.