What happens now in the fight for the Senate

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Races in Georgia and Maine could determine who controls the Senate.

The question of which party controls the U.S. Senate may come down to three runoff elections in Maine and Georgia.

Democrats have picked up two Republican-held Senate seats as of Wednesday morning. In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly defeated Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ). And in Colorado, former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Republicans won back one Senate seat in Alabama, where GOP candidate Tommy Tuberville unseated Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

If Democrats are to regain control of the Senate for the first time since 2014, they must win back two or three more seats, depending on who wins the White House.

Three races in Maine and Georgia are close enough that they may trigger runoff elections.

In Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) holds a six-point lead over Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, though an estimated 30% of the state's votes remain uncounted. Collins appears to be running several points ahead of Donald Trump in the state. She refused to endorse Trump for reelection, citing her own "difficult race." If neither candidate wins an outright majority, Maine's instant runoff voting system will automatically add voters' second-choice (and possibly third-choice) candidates to the top candidates' total vote count.

In Georgia, acting Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) will face Reverend Raphael Warnock in a runoff election on Jan. 5. Warnock appears to have won the plurality of votes, with about 32% reporting so far, but fell well short of the outright majority needed to win. Loeffler has run as a staunchly pro-Trump candidate.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Democrat Jon Ossoff may also face a runoff if neither candidate wins a majority of votes. Perdue is currently ahead with 50.8%, but many votes remain uncounted in Atlanta and other Democratic-leaning areas. Perdue also ran as a fierce Trump ally.

Regardless of who prevails, Collins is already getting started on her 2026 campaign. She filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.