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Trump’s lead shrinks in Georgia as officials race to finish counts

By Mark Niesse – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Greg Bluestein – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga

Ossoff nears runoff territory

Joe Biden pulled within 23,000 votes of President Donald Trump in Georgia early Thursday as election workers counted tens of thousands of absentee ballots.

The Republican’s once-formidable lead steadily shrank throughout Wednesday as mail-in ballots trickled in, giving Democrats a chance to carry Georgia for the first time in a White House race since 1992.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue also appeared at risk of being pulled into a runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff, hovering near the 50-percent threshold as ballots from metro Atlanta and Chatham County were tallied through the night.

Georgia’s other U.S. Senate seat is already headed toward a Jan. 5 showdown, with incumbent Kelly Loeffler facing Democrat Raphael Warnock in the matchup.

The slow count put Georgia and a dwindling number of other battlegrounds in the spotlight as the undecided presidential race tightened with Biden flipping Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.

At least 80,000 absentee ballots, mostly concentrated in metro Atlanta and Savannah, remained to be tallied. County election officials once promise to complete most of their counts Wednesday, but the timeline shifted to Thursday.

At stake are Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, which could be enough for swing Biden over the 270 votes needed nationwide to become president, according to counts by The Associated Press.

And more could hinge on the Jan. 5 runoffs, required if no candidate gets a majority of the vote. The dual contests could potentially determine control of the U.S. Senate if Biden wins the White House.