June 11, 2020 / 5:33 PM / a month ago

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff wins nomination to run for U.S. Senate after chaotic vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has clinched his party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat representing the state, three years after narrowly losing a special House election for a district that had been a Republican stronghold, election results showed.

FILE PHOTO: Democrat Jon Ossoff addresses his supporters after his defeat in Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry/File Photo

Ossoff’s win in Tuesday’s primary followed a chaotic voting day, with long lines and problems with voting machines, then many hours of counting after polls closed. Ossoff thanked voters on Twitter “for your relentless determination to vote. We won!”

The 33-year-old documentary filmmaker will now challenge Republican Senator David Perdue, an ally of President Donald Trump, this fall. Democrats hope to wrest control of the Senate from Republicans, who currently have a 53-47 majority.

Ossoff ran well ahead of six rivals in Tuesday’s primary, but needed at least 50% of the vote to avoid an August runoff. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office said Thursday he had 51.18% of the vote with 89.81% of precincts reporting.

Ossoff’s 2017 near-miss was the most expensive House race ever.

On MSNBC Wednesday, Ossoff called Perdue “one of President Trump’s most infamous enablers. Never a word of criticism even for this president’s most egregious conduct.”

Perdue faced no primary opposition from fellow Republicans. The former Fortune 500 executive campaigned as a Washington outsider when he first ran in 2014.

“I’m still focused on preserving the free-enterprise system and creating economic opportunity for every American,” Perdue wrote on Twitter.

The race is one of two Senate contests in Georgia this fall, and polls show it has tightened. The holder of the other Georgia Senate seat resigned last year and Republican businesswoman Kelly Loeffler was appointed in January; a special election will be held to fill that seat in November.

Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost Georgia’s last statewide election when she ran for governor in 2018.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by David Gregorio

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