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Georgia Republicans Expect Senate Runoff

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The final results aren’t in yet, but Georgia Republicans are apparently expecting a runoff in the Senate race there:

Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart said Wednesday morning that she anticipated a runoff between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.

Neither candidate had 50 percent of the vote. Chambliss, the incumbent, held a 49.9 percent to 46.7 percent advantage over Martin with 96 percent of the state precincts counted, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office as of 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. Libertarian Allen Buckley had 3.4 percent of the vote.

If that scenario held, Chambliss would face a costly and unpredictable four-week runoff with Martin.

Everhart said she was up early Wednesday morning talking to party leaders on the plan to keep Chambliss in the U.S. Senate.

Everhart said she thought a runoff might be possible months ago, based on the presence of Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley. She also believed Democratic turnout would be high because of the historic nature of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Obama was the first African-American candidate to win a major party nomination.

Election officials and reporters were trying to figure out on Wednesday how many votes remained to be counted.

The official count from the Georgia Secretary of State shows Chambliss leading, but with less than 50% of the vote, with 96% of the precincts reporting:

Georgia Senate 2

If that holds, Chambliss will face Martin in a December runoff.