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Jan. 9, 2021, 9:09 a.m. EST

Democrats likely to get Senate control on Jan. 20, though it may take until Jan. 22

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By Victor Reklaitis

Democrats are due to take control of the U.S. Senate this month after their wins in Georgia’s two crucial runoff elections, but the exact date for their ascension isn’t guaranteed.

Georgia’s elections chief, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, said in a Thursday interview with CNN that he plans to certify the results of the runoffs by Jan. 20, but he wouldn’t commit completely to that date.

“We will get that done as soon as we can,” said Raffensperger, a Republican.

Jan. 20 is Inauguration Day, when President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are scheduled to take the reins from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

With the wins in Georgia by Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock over Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the party will have 50 seats in the 100-seat Senate and only get control of it because Harris will cast tiebreaking votes.

So Democratic control of the chamber will come Jan. 20, when Harris becomes VP — as long as the wins by Ossoff and Warnock are certified and they’ve been seated in the Senate.

But Georgia’s certification deadline is Jan. 22, meaning Raffensperger has until then to deliver, and Ossoff and Warnock may not get seated until that date.

Therefore, it’s possible that in the first couple of days of the Biden-Harris administration, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky still will be the Senate’s majority leader and not yet have given way to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Perdue conceded to his opponent on Friday, and Loeffler did so Thursday.

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