WASHINGTON — Control of the Senate won’t be decided until the new year after Republicans won a seat in Alaska.
Neither party is able to lock the majority until January Senate runoffs in Georgia. Republicans added to their ranks Wednesday when Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan defeated Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat.
Sullivan's win means the Republican caucus are guaranteed 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate chamber. As of Wednesday, Democrats only controlled 48 seats.
With Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Republicans are still short of the 51 seats they need for majority control. That's because the vice president of the party in power, which on Jan. 20 will be Kamala Harris, is the Senate tie-breaker on votes.
That means if Republicans only have 50 seats, Democrats can control the Senate.
Control of the Senate will come down to a pair of run-off elections in Georgia, which will be held on Jan. 5.
In a regularly-scheduled race, Republican Sen. David Perdue, currently seeking re-election for the first time, nearly missed out on the 50% needed in order to avoid a runoff. With 49.7% of the vote, he'll need to fend off Democrat Jon Ossoff to serve a second term.
The second race is a special election to replace Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired due to health problems in 2019. Kelly Loeffler, who Gov. Brian Kemp tapped as Isakson's temporary replacement upon his retirement, will square off with Rev. Raphael Warnock.