MSNBC Wins Georgia Election-Night Ratings Fight: Election Update

MSNBC scored the highest ratings during Tuesday’s elections in Georgia. President-elect Joe Biden called two Democratic Senate candidates to offer congratulations. And Jon Ossoff may avoid a recount.

Other developments:

MSNBC Wins Georgia Election-Night Ratings Fight (4:12 p.m.)

MSNBC drew the biggest audience among cable networks covering Tuesday night’s Senate runoffs in Georgia, topping longtime ratings leader Fox News as well as CNN.

The left-leaning MSNBC, owned by Comcast Corp., drew 4.53 million viewers in the 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot, according to Nielsen data released by the networks. Fox Corp.’s flagship cable network attracted 4.24 million, while CNN, owned by AT&T Inc., drew 3.76 million.

MSNBC was also a ratings leader during the Democratic National Convention.

The network’s audience numbers Tuesday night may have reflected the high stakes of the Georgia runoffs, which will determine whether the Democratic party will take control of the U.S. Senate. -- Chris Palmeri and Rob Golum

Biden Calls Warnock, Ossoff to Offer Congratulations (2:24 p.m.)

Biden called the two Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia to offer his congratulations on Wednesday morning.

In a tweet, Biden said he called Raphael Warnock and Ossoff “to congratulate them on their hard-fought campaigns. Georgia voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: They want action on the crises we face and they want it right now.”

The Associated Press and other news outlets have called the race for Warnock but not for Ossoff, though he remains favored with a 17,000-vote lead as of Wednesday afternoon.

If both Democrats win their races, the party would gain control of the Senate, making it easier for Biden to enact his agenda.

Ossoff May Avoid a Recount as Late-Arriving Ballots Are Counted (1:21 p.m.)

A top Georgia elections official said Wednesday that the remaining uncounted ballots likely lean Democratic, meaning Ossoff may avoid a recount.

Elections official Gabriel Sterling said that the outstanding ballots include 60,000 mail ballots that arrived just before the Tuesday deadline, 14,000 overseas and military ballots that can be received as late as Friday and about 10,000 provisional ballots filed by voters who ran into a problem on Election Day.

Democrats heavily favored voting by mail this year and many of the uncounted ballots are from Democratic-leaning urban areas.

“It makes it look like Jon Ossoff will likely have a margin outside half a percent, to avoid a recount,” Sterling said.

Democrats Eye Voting-Rights Reform After Georgia Win (10:44 a.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants celebrated the Georgia results in a morning call on Wednesday, and discussed proceeding with legislation to establish federal codes for voting.

Pelosi told the group of Democratic lawmakers that a voting-rights and election-reform bill will now get a Senate vote, according to a lawmaker on the call. The bill would create automatic voter registration, bar voter purges and simplify vote-by-mail processes, among other elements.

The bill, which also places new limits on campaign contributions, passed the House two years ago but was ignored by the GOP-run Senate. It was reintroduced in the House this month and a vote is expected in weeks.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also celebrated the Georgia victory by playing Ray Charles’s version of “Georgia On My Mind,” the official state song, on the conference call. -- Erik Wasson

Outstanding Ballots Still Being Counting in Georgia (4 a.m.)

Some Georgia counties planned to resume counting outstanding ballots in the U.S. Senate runoff elections on Wednesday morning, after Democrats won one race and the other remained very close.

Democrat Raphael Warnock won his contest against Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent, though Loeffler said she isn’t conceding. David Perdue, the other Republican candidate in the runoff, was narrowly trailing Ossoff.

There were still absentee ballots to be counted in some counties, and as many as 17,000 military and overseas ballots can be counted if they are postmarked by Tuesday and received by 5 p.m. Friday.

Votes still to be counted were “scattered” throughout the state, with outstanding ballots in some counties that will help Democrats and others that will boost Republicans, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said late Tuesday night on CNN.

“I know one thing, there will be a lot of people looking for that mail coming in on Friday,” Raffensperger said. -- Mark Niquette

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