Democrat Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is projected the winner of the Senate runoff election, defeating Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, inciting Democrats optimism in the control for power and astounding a full control of the federal government.
With 98% reporting, Warnock was ahead of Loeffler by 1.2 percentage points, roughly by 50,000 votes
As of 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Ossoff took the lead with 99% reporting, narrowing holding 9,527 votes led over Perdue, a margin of less than 0.2 percentage points. A final outcome is not expected to be released until later on Wednesday, possibly occur at the same time GOP Senators contests the Electoral College votes.
Democrats need to win both Senate runoff elections to claim control of the Senate majority. A Democratic sweep would create a 50-50 split in the Senate chambers, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote. Such power to break a Senate tie-breaker vote would give Harris the power to pass through many if not all of Biden’s political and judicial appointees as well as his ambiguous legislative initiatives. The former Vice President called it a “colossal stakes” that would “chart the course not just for the next four years, but for the next generation.”
Meanwhile, Republicans must definitely win the second Senate race in order to keep Mitch McConnell as majority leader and effectively wield veto power over many of Biden’s nominees and legislation.
The contest between Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. David Perdue remains still too close to call.
Georgia had shattered its turnout record for a runoff with more than 3 million votes by mail or during in-person advance voting in December. The state’s previous record was only 2.1 million in the 2008 Senate runoff.
There are still some mail ballots and in-person early votes left to be counted with the largest share of outstanding votes appearing to be ballots from Cobb and DeKalb Counties, both Democratic strongholds that gave Biden the lead and the win of the state in November.
Before news outlets called the race for Warnock, the Democratic candidate shortly after midnight thanked supporters and practically declared victory.
“We were told that we couldn’t win this election. But tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work, and the people by our side, anything is possible,” Warnock told supporters in a Livestream video message with a sign that said “Thank you Georgia” placed behind him.
“I am so honored by the faith that you have shown in me, and I promise you this: I am going to the Senate to work for Georgia, all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election,” he added.
Loeffler has so far refused to concede, telling supporters, “Every single American, stay in the fight with us.
Warnock will join Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina as the only Black senators from the deep South while making history in becoming the first Black senator elected in Georgia as well as being the first Black Democrat ever from the south to hold a US Senate seat.
No Democrat had won a Senate race or a presidential race in Georgia for over 20 years.