U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and his GOP challenger, Herschel Walker, will head to a runoff, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Georgia requires a candidate to receive more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff, a threshold neither candidate reached.
“Right now we have less than 20,000 total votes still out to be counted. That’s not enough to change the race. So this is headed for a runoff,” Raffensperger said Wednesday speaking on The Brian Kilmeade Show.
The news comes as Georgia is again at the center of the battle for control over the U.S. Senate. Republicans need to flip one seat to gain control of the Senate, which is currently split evenly between the two parties with Vice President Kamala Harris giving Democrats the advantage as they tie-breaking vote.
In addition to Georgia, votes are still being tallied in Alaska, Arizona, and Nevada. Republicans are expected to win Alaska and are leading in Nevada. Democrats are leading in Arizona. That leaves Georgia the largest question mark.
Warnock currently leads the race, with 49.4% of the vote to Walker’s 48.5%, a lead of about 35,000 votes.
The race has been not only one of the most watched nationally this cycle, but one of the most hotly contested. Walker has faced an onslaught of negative headlines in recent weeks stemming from allegations of domestic abuse to claims by two women that he paid for them to have abortions. Walker has been vocally anti-abortion.
Walker faced scrutiny over claims he once held a gun to his ex-wife’s head, that he wrongfully claimed to have worked in law enforcement and exaggerated claims about graduating from the University of Georgia, which he left his junior year to play professional football.
Walker’s negatives are clear in the close race when compared to another top-of-ticket statewide race in Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, easily won re-election against his Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams, with more than 53% of the vote.