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UPDATES: Presidential, U.S. Senate race nailbiters in Georgia

By Tamar Hallerman – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Greg Bluestein – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

David Wickert – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga

Sluggish vote counting in metro Atlanta creating headaches

7:10 a.m.

More results due from key metro Atlanta counties

Hundreds of thousands of votes remain to be counted. Key races with national implications are too close to call.

That’s the state of elections in Georgia this morning. You’ll find more details below. But in the hours ahead, watch for more election results from key metro Atlanta counties, including Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb.

There are at least 239,000 absentee ballots that have been returned to counties that haven’t yet been counted. We’ll post updated results here as we get them.

Also today: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will hold a press conference this morning to discuss voting problems and other issues.

3 a.m.

Key races up in the air

The race for president in Georgia tightened early Wednesday as metro Atlanta returns trickled in, though it could take days to get the full picture because of vote counting problems in Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

That didn’t stop President Donald Trump from declaring a “clear” victory in Georgia, despite the race being unsettled in many left-leaning areas.

Earlier in the evening, Georgia Republicans began to rally around U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler after she edged out Congressman Doug Collins for a spot in a Jan. 5 runoff against Democrat Raphael Warnock. Collins conceded the race and pledged full support to his once-bitter rival.

Georgia’s other marquee races also hung in the balance as dozens of Democratic-leaning precincts surrounding Atlanta had yet to report. That included U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s reelection battle against Democrat Jon Ossoff, as well as a U.S. House contest that was seen as bellwether for Vice President Joe Biden’s strength in the suburbs.

Early Wednesday, multiple news outlets declared U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, the winner of a rematch against former Congresswoman Karen Handel in the suburban 6th U.S. House District. And Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux declared victory in the neighboring 7th District, though no major news outlets had called the race.

Other developments:

Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed pleasant surprise that Georgia was in play for his campaign, saying early Wednesday that “we’re still in the game in Georgia although that’s not one we expected”

There was some confusion surrounding the 7th Congressional District race early Wednesday. The diverse suburban district, based in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, was home to the tightest congressional race in the nation two years ago and too close to call all evening. But Bourdeaux declared victory over Republican Rich McCormick shortly after 2:30 a.m., though no news outlets had weighed in on the race. The McCormick camp said it will weigh its options until all ballots are counted.

Republicans declared victory over their top statehouse target, House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, the last remaining rural white Democrat in the chamber

Georgia is poised to send a record number of women to Congress

Voters in Brunswick ousted Jackie Johnson, the district attorney who initially headed up the Ahmaud Arbery investigation

Track election returns here, and follow our live updates below:

2:45 a.m.

Bourdeaux declares victory in 7th District, despite no news orgs calling race

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux said she won the 7th District congressional race, but major news outlets have yet to call the razor-thin Gwinnett and Forsyth contest.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to be your Congresswoman-elect, and I will carry your stories and experiences with me every day as we work together to build a brighter future for our children,” Bourdeaux said in an early Wednesday statement. Shortly after, House Democrats’ campaign committee fired off a press release congratulating the policy professor on her win.

The campaign of Republican Rich McCormick said it had “not received an unofficial total, let alone a certified vote total. We will continue to weigh our options until all ballots are counted.”

2:40 a.m.

More than 8,000 ballots outstanding in Gwinnett

By Arielle Kass

Gwinnett County spokesperson Joe Sorenson said no more vote counting will happen tonight, even though more than 8,000 ballots are outstanding.

Gwinnett still has to count 4,400 absentee-by-mail ballots that arrived Tuesday, along with about 500 provisional ballots. Additionally, poll workers on Wednesday must re-scan the advance-in-person ballots that were loaded on to a corrupt card. Sorenson said he didn’t know how many ballots that is, but the scanner, from Shorty Howell Park, had four days worth of ballots that were uploaded from the beginning of the early voting period.

The county must also adjudicate a number of absentee ballots that have issues. There are 3,200 batches of absentee ballots; each batch contains somewhere between 25 and 50 ballots. At least one ballot in each batch had votes that couldn’t be read. The county uploaded the batches with the knowledge that they’d have to go back through and find the ballots that didn’t scan to determine whether the votes could be read. That process will begin Wednesday.

2:30 a.m.

Trump declares victory in Georgia, but results far from settled

President Donald Trump declared victory in Georgia early Wednesday during a televised address in which he also vowed to fight at the Supreme Court.

Trump said it was “clear” he won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, but the race is still far from settled here. The heavily Democratic Fulton County is still tabulating its results, as are precincts in Gwinnett and Cobb counties.