Joe Biden pulls slightly ahead of Donald Trump in Peach State
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
ATLANTA (CNN) — With unofficial results within 7,300 votes, Georgia election officials said Friday they will recount the ballots in the state’s presidential contest between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
“Interest in our election obviously goes far beyond Georgia’s borders,” said Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensburger. “The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country.”
Trump built a significant lead as results of in-person voting came in on election night. But as mail-in ballots were counted in Democratic counties in metro Atlanta, Biden closed the gap and then surpassed the president.
Saturday, Biden’s lead stood at just 7,264 votes, out of nearly 5 million cast, a close enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.
If Biden prevails in the recount, he will be the first Democrat in 28 years to carry the Peach State and win its 16 electoral votes.
However, the result in Georgia will not affect the outcome of the presidential race, as Biden captured the White House when Pennsylvania was declared on Saturday.
While the Trump campaign has vowed to pursue legal challenges in other Democrat-controlled states that he appears to have lost, that could be more difficult in Georgia, where the governor and secretary of state are both Republicans. The state’s voting manager, Gabriel Sterling, said Friday that “we’re not seeing any widespread irregularities” in the vote count.
In addition to the presidential race, the late count of mail-in ballots also affected one of the two U.S. Senate races. Republican incumbent U.S. Senator David Perdue still leads over his Democratic rival, Jon Ossoff, but he has fallen below the majority he needs to win under state law.
That will set up a January 5 runoff between Perdue and Ossoff, which will take place at the same time as a special election runoff for the state’s other Senate seat between Democrat Ralphael Warnock and incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler.
If Biden wins the presidency and both Democrats win in Georgia, control of the Senate will shift from Republican to Democratic hands.
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