(The Center Square) – Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock are headed to a runoff election Jan. 5 after none of the candidates on the ballot Tuesday earned more than 50% of the vote.

Twenty-one candidates were on the ballot to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson in Tuesday’s special election. January’s runoff will determine who serves the remaining two years of Isakson’s six-year term.

Loeffler, a Republican businesswoman and co-owner of Atlanta’s WNBA franchise who was appointed in December by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the seat vacated by Isakson, Republican Congressman Doug Collins and Warnock were the three candidates who pulled away from the group during the campaign.

The Associated Press declared Loeffler and Warnock had advanced to the runoff at 11:15 p.m. EST. With 2,101 of 2,656 precincts reporting, Warnock had 29% of the vote, Loeffler had 28% and Collins had 22%.

“I just called [Loeffler] and congratulated her on making the runoff,” tweeted Collins, who made waves in Republican circles in January, when he announced his bid for the seat. Collins has represented Georgia’s 9th Congressional District since 2013. “She has my support and endorsement. I look forward to all Republicans coming together. Raphael Warnock would be a disaster for Georgia and America.”

Warnock is the senior pastor of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached.

In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, no winner had been declared as of midnight. With 2,186 of 2,656 precincts reporting, Georgia incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue led Democrat Jon Ossoff, 54.2% to 43.5%. Libertarian Shane Hazel had 2.3% of the vote.

If none of the candidates garners a majority of the vote, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will happen Jan. 5.

Perdue was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. Before winning public office, Perdue was in business, and his previous jobs included serving as CEO at Reebok, Dollar General and Pillowtex.

Ossoff, an investigative journalist and media executive, ran for Congress in 2017 in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Hazel’s background includes serving in the U.S. Marines and hosting a podcast. He ran for Congress in 2018 as the Republican candidate in the race for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District.

This article was initially published at TheCenterSquare

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