Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHead of North Carolina's health department steps down Appeals court appears wary of Trump's suit to block documents from Jan. 6 committee Patent trolls kill startups, but the Biden administration has the power to help MORE celebrated Sen.-elect Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockOvernight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Democrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid MORE’s (D) victory in Tuesday’s Senate runoff election, saying fellow Georgian the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Obama, Dave Chappelle nominated in same Grammy category MORE "is surely smiling down" on the Peach State.
Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, will be the first Black senator from Georgia. He was projected to win his runoff election against Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerSenate GOP worries Trump could derail bid for majority Perdue mulling primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia: report McConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race MORE (R) early Wednesday morning.
The former president had hit the campaign trail for Warnock and Jon OssoffJon OssoffDemocrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid Perdue on possible run for Georgia governor: 'I'm concerned about the state of our state' Top Senate Democrat calls on attorney general to fire prisons chief MORE, and he appeared in several campaign ads for Warnock.
Ossoff is currently leading in his race against Republican David PerdueDavid PerdueDemocrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens Perdue on possible run for Georgia governor: 'I'm concerned about the state of our state' MORE, though the race has not yet been called.
“My friend John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning, as people across the state carried forward the baton that he and so many others passed down to them,” Obama said in a statement posted to social media.
My friend John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning, as people across the state carried forward the baton that he and so many others passed down to them. pic.twitter.com/CgVEP4Ilt8— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 6, 2021
Multiple Democratic lawmakers also paid tribute to Lewis, who died last summer, after Warnock was projected to win over Loeffler.
The former president, who gave a eulogy at the civil rights legend’s funeral, also thanked former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, whose efforts to register and turn out voters is being credited with helping Democrats come within reach of winning both runoff races.
“I want to congratulate Reverend Raphael Warnock on his election as Georgia’s next U.S. Senator — and while we're still waiting on final results in the other runoff, is clear that last night’s showing, alongside President-elect Biden’s November victory in Georgia, is a testament to the power of the tireless and often unheralded work of grassroots organizing and the resilient, visionary leadership of Stacey Abrams,” Obama wrote.
He called on Americans to stay “engaged in civic life,” adding that continuing progress “depend on us vigilantly honoring the precious, sometimes fragile gift of the American experiment.”
“If we want to protect the gains we’ve made, achieve even more progress in the years to come, and reinforce the foundations of self-governance on which our country rests, there’s no better to follow than the one forged by the determined, organized, and confidently hopeful people of Georgia,” he continued.