9:30pm: Alright, I'm off for the night. If there are any unofficial reports in from the counties in the morning I'll give a glance toward the changes in early voting between November 4 and today. But SOS may not have those figures up until next week some time or when the election is certified.
9:20pm: Wow! Half of Fulton is in and Martin only holds an exactly 2000 vote lead. That pretty much sums this one up.
9:10pm: Now come the questions:
Was Obama wise to stay away?
Seems that way.
Did the Palin, et al. visit(s) have an impact?
Maybe, maybe not.
And the big one: Should this race have even been this close to begin with?
It didn't look close at all during the summer when Chambliss was up over 10 points. But it took a perfect storm for Martin to get this thing into a runoff. He got it then, but the storm dissipated without Obama and the attendant enthusiasm along for the ride.
9:05pm: Or not.
Associated Press has called the race for Chambliss.
9:00pm: My hunch is that there won't be a call until Fulton gets closer to the half way point of counting.
...and perhaps not then.
But with over 70% in, Chambliss is still over a 60% share of the vote. He started out high on November 4 as well before the count drew closer and closer. The start tonight was much higher though. The incumbent Republican crested at like 57% or so at one point on election night and it only got closer. We may see the same thing tonight (In fact we are.), but the crest point for Chambliss was about 10 points higher tonight.
8:47pm: DeKalb County is a little less than half in and is running about nine points lower for Martin tonight than it did on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Meanwhile Fulton is still stuck on about one-seventh reporting and and Martin is up by a shade more than 400 votes. I don't think it is overstating the matter to say Martin is underperforming the numbers he enjoyed last month.
8:43pm: Here's a question: Have those early votes been counted yet? My guess is that there is a rolling tally that the Secretary of State's folks do each night when those numbers came in, but that they'll come in rolled into the counties' totals tonight.
8:38pm: Over half the results are in (so sayeth SOS in Atlanta) and Chambliss is still over the 60% mark in terms of his share of the vote. I can see some of those Democrats' eyes shifting northward to Minnesota.
8:30pm: Quitman County, where political corruption and vote fraud nearly kept Jimmy Carter out of his first elective office, is 100% in. Turnout there is down about 50% today versus four weeks ago. There were 990 total votes cast there on November 4 and 482 today. If that figure were to apply to the entire state, turnout would be down more than it was for the Senate runoff in 1992. But Quitman County does not an election make. And plus, Martin's margin was reduced to just 14 votes this time in a county he won by more than ten times that on election day.
8:26pm: 30% are in and Martin has pulled it under 30 points fueled in large part by a 20,000 vote lead in DeKalb County (only about an eighth of the county's precincts are in). All that's really doing is canceling out those Gwinnett numbers for Chambliss.
8:19pm: About a quarter of the precincts are in and Chambliss' advantage has dipped under the 2:1 mark for the first time this evening. I've talked about several Martin strongholds being silent thus far, but Cobb County has yet to report anything either. Remember that was the county with the most early votes cast and one that Chambliss won by about 12 points on November 4.
8:14pm: Henry County, one of the tight counties from the general election, is not shaping up to be as close for Martin this time around. We pegged it as one of the counties where Martin would have to do well to pull this out. Still nothing out of Fulton or DeKalb. The way things are looking, though, Martin is really going to have to sweep his November 4 hotspots to have a chance.
8:03pm: Chambliss is still comfortably ahead with 12% reporting. It should be noted, however, that most of the counties with any returns in are Chambliss counties. And Gwinnett County seems to be driving the early lead. 68 of the 163 precincts are in and Chambliss has a commanding 32,000 to 18,000 vote advantage. None of the big ones for Martin have reported anything. On that list: Fulton, DeKalb and Clarke. [Well, I had to throw Clarke in there. That's where I am.]
7:52pm: Chambliss currently holds a two-one lead over Martin with 5% of the precincts reporting. Sean over at FiceThirtyEight said about an hour ago that they had heard about lines in Athens. That may be true but I saw no indication of that this afternoon. However, this afternoon, my polling station looked as busy as it did on general election day four weeks ago (...minus four or six voting machines).
7:47pm: And it's show time, folks. I'm late getting started but we can all follow the results here at the Georgia Secretary of State's web site. I'm keeping a close eye on the county-by-county results.
The Georgia Senate Runoff: A Polling Projection
Georgia Senate Runoff: Early Voting (Final Day)
Georgia Senate Runoff: Early Voting (Day 7)