Democratic Jon Ossoff was announced as the winner Wednesday in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff election, defeating incumbent Republican David Perdue. Ossoff’s win follows a victory by fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock, who defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
The victory means Democrats in 2021 will control the White House, Senate and House.
“Thank you so much for the confidence that you’ve placed in me,” Ossoff told supporters in a video live stream. “I am honored by your support, by your confidence, by your trust, and I will look forward to serving you in the United States Senate with integrity with humility, with honor, and getting things done for the people of Georgia.”
Ossoff received 2,233,982 votes, or 50.37%, compared to Perdue, who received 2,201,099 votes, or 49.63%. Warnock received 2,249,806 votes, or 50.8%, while Loeffler received 2,181,763 votes, or 49.2%. Perdue and Loeffler have not conceded.
The wins by Warnock and Ossoff are by larger margins than the threshold required to trigger a recount under Georgia law.
The results are historic in many ways. Ossoff will be Georgia’s first Jewish senator and, at 33, he will be the youngest in 2021. Warnock will be the state’s first Black senator.
“I am an iteration and an example of the American dream,” Warnock said. “… When I think about the arc of our history, what Georgia did last night is its own message in the midst of a moment in which so many people are trying to divide our country, at a time we can least afford to be divided.”
The Senate will be split, 50-50. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast deciding votes in any 50-50 splits, giving Democrats effective control. Because the party will lead both houses of Congress and the White House, it is expected to be much easier for President-elect Joe Biden to pass his agenda while also ensuring approval of his Cabinet and judicial nominees.
Biden has recently said his priorities would include yet another round of COVID-19 relief, something he had promised particularly if Democrats took back the Senate.
“Georgia’s voters … want action on the crises we face and they want it right now,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “I have long said that the bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment. We need urgent action on what comes next.”
Another effect of the Georgia elections involves the Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, has reportedly considered retirement but was waiting for a Democrat president to find his replacement.
Trump altered the high court’s balance last year when he appointed conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The results in Georgia, a historically conservative state, are seen by some as a rebuke of President Trump.
The Warnock and Ossoff wins occurred on the same day that pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as Congress was officially counting votes from the Electoral College. Trump had attacked election integrity in Georgia as part of his efforts to overturn the presidential election, potentially depressing the Republican vote.
Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock Win Senate Races, Paving Way For Biden Administration To Enact Plans The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ International Business Times.