Four weeks have passed since the American congressional elections and one important question is still unanswered: who will represent the state of Georgia in the Senate in Washington?
This time, however, it's not because the count was too slow, but because none of the candidates surpassed the 50 percent mark of the vote required by the Georgia constitution for victory.
Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock got 49.4 percent, his Republican challenger 48.5.
A third candidate received around two percent of the votes and made the upcoming runoff election necessary for Tuesday.
Editor in Politics.
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It is already clear that the Democrats will retain the majority in the smaller chamber.
Because right now they have 50 seats, while the Republicans have 49 for sure.
Should the Republican nominee win in Georgia, there would be a voting stalemate that Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris could break with her vote.
The most important decision has already been made, but there is still something at stake for both sides in the runoff election in the "Peach State".
For the Democrats, it's about not having to sign a deal with the Republicans on how to share power in the Senate.
This is always necessary when there is no clear majority.
Two years ago, Democrat Chuck Schumer and minority leader Mitch McConnell negotiated for a long time until it became clear that the Democrats would not abolish the filibuster.
Only then did McConnell give his approval.
Many seats in conservative states
The agreement provided for both parties to have the same number of members on the committees.
The Democrats would now like to avoid this in order to be able to bring their own projects more quickly from the committees to the plenary.
With one more member on each committee, they would no longer need Republican approval.
The Republicans, on the other hand, would be reluctant to relinquish this means of exerting influence.
A clear majority of Democrats would also reduce the importance of a single senator in the legislature.
For the past two years, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has made life difficult for his fellow Democrats.
They had to tone down several important projects in order to get his approval.
Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema are the Democrats' most uncertain cantonists on that score.
Over the next two years, their troublesome tendencies could intensify as both face re-election in 2024 and before that may be tempted to raise their moderate profile to have a chance in their conservative states.
In addition, the Democrats could also cope with a failure with a majority vote.
In February of this year, Senator Ben Ray Lujan suffered a stroke and was out for several weeks.
During this time, the Democrats had no opportunity to get any of their projects through the Senate due to the lack of a vote.
They would like to avoid this scenario.
If there's one lesson to be learned from the last few years of Republican control in the Senate, it's how important a majority in the chamber is to filling judgeships.
While no vacancy is expected on the Supreme Court, there are 116 vacancies at levels below that Democrats can fill.
With a majority in the Senate, they could not only get President Biden's nominees through the relevant committee faster, but also confirm them in the Senate without the vote of the vice presidents.
Only a simple majority is required for this.
This is of great importance, especially in view of the fact that there will not be much in the way of legislation for the Democrats in the next four years, because the Republicans control the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, the Democrats with the majority can easily block projects from the larger chamber.
Some Republicans there have already announced that they will attack the government with investigative committees and possibly even impeachment proceedings.
At least impeachment proceedings would depend on the cooperation of the Senate, which would certainly not happen with a democratic majority.
Ultimately, the runoff election in Georgia is also of great importance for the Democrats in view of the 2024 election year.
In two years they have many seats to defend in structurally conservative states.
If they can do that with a majority behind them, it would at least take some of the pressure off of them.
President Joe Biden, himself a senator for many years, also knows how important the majority is.
"It's always better at 51," he said.
"Then we don't have to have as many senators on the committees.
For the most part, that's why it's important.
But it's just better.
The larger the number, the better.”