A defiant Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not yet conceded to her opponent Raphael Warnock, who has been declared the projected winner in the Georgia Senate runoff.
At around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, the Associated Press, NBC News and CBS News called the race for Warnock, a pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta who has never held public office.
During an address to supporters around midnight at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta, Loeffler said, “Every legal vote will be counted and I’m not going to stop working. So I’m asking for every single Georgian, every single American: stay in the fight with us. We are going to keep fighting for you.”
She also said she was heading to Washington D.C. this morning where she will meet with Congress for the Electoral College confirmation. Loeffler had said she plans to object to the results that Biden won the presidential election.
Meanwhile, Warnock declared victory just before analysts called the race. He said that his campaign was told they would never win. In a video address, Warnock said,
“Tonight we prove that would 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.”
With 98% of precincts reporting, Warnock received 2,231,572 votes or 50.6% of all votes. Loeffler has 2,176,977 votes or 49.4% of all votes.
Georgia state law does not require an automatic recount of votes. However, a candidate can request a recount if the margin is less than or equal to 0.5%. Of the votes counted so far, the margin separating Warnock and Loeffler is 1.2%.
In the other Senate runoff race, Democrat Ossoff was in the lead by more than 17,000 votes.
Bill Sterling with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office said more than 40,000 absentee ballots need to be counted in counties throughout metro Atlanta, with the most in Dekab County at more than 17,000.
There are 14,000 military and overseas ballots that were sent out, but have not been returned. In order for those to be counted, they must have been post-marked by yesterday and arrive by Friday.
Sterling said with the number of ballots left and taking into account the demographics of voter turnout, Ossoff is likely to maintain his lead and possibly avoid a recount. That would also likely widen Warnock’s lead over Sen. Loeffler, keeping him even further out of recount territory.
Sen. Loeffler has not said anything more since her midnight address to supporters.
Numbers show almost 4.4 million people turned out to vote, the most-ever for a runoff in the Peach State. It shatters the previous 2.1 million set in 2008 in the runoff between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.
Georgia counties have until January 15 to certify their election results. The Secretary of State’s deadline to certify state results is January 22.