Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the special senate runoff elections in Georgia.
Major networks called the race with 98% of the vote reporting. At that point, Ossoff had won 50.4% of the vote to Perdue’s 49.6%, while Warnock beat Loeffler 50.8% to 49.2%. As expected, the race, like the presidential race in the Peach State two months prior, came down to the wire.
Republicans will be bitterly disappointed with the loss for a number of reasons. For one, Georgia has been a traditionally red state, so its sudden switch in favor of the Democrats does not bode well for future Republican congressional and presidential prospects. More pressingly, the losses mean that Republicans have now lost control of the Senate, drastically diminishing their legislative power. The Senate split is 50-50 now between Democrats and Republicans, but Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as a tie breaker for the Democrats.
Warnock, who is the first Black senator to be elected in Georgia and a pastor, expressed his delight at his victory: “Georgia, we made history. I am forever grateful.” Ossoff, who will become the first Jewish senator from Georgia as well as the youngest Senator since Joe Biden’s first senatorial term, also expressed satisfaction, saying, “Thank you for the confidence and trust you have placed in me. I’m looking forward to working with you to get financial relief directly to the people, beat COVID-19, and build a healthier, more prosperous, more just America for all.”
President Trump, predictably, lashed out at the results of the runoff, once again alleging fraud. He tweeted, “They just happened to find 50,000 ballots late last night. The USA is embarrassed by fools. Our Election Process is worse than that of third world countries!”
Projections of the Democrats’ victory were overshadowed by the chaos that came over Washington DC as pro-Trump rioters stormed the halls of the US Capitol to interrupt confirmation of President-elect Biden’s victory. Nevertheless, Biden will doubtlessly be pleased with the result of the runoff, for it now means his party is in the strong position of controlling both legislative branches of government as well as the White House. This will mean that it will be considerably easier for him to pass his policy (including a $2000 stimulus check Republicans in the senate have heretofore blocked), although sweeping changes will still likely face considerable opposition.