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Obama on Warnock win: 'John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning'

Obama on Warnock win: 'John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning'
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Former President Obama celebrated Sen.-elect Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis LeBron James's More Than A Vote ad campaign focuses on defending voting rights MORE’s (D) victory in Tuesday’s Senate runoff election, saying fellow Georgian the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - Relief bill to become law; Cuomo in trouble Lawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Clyburn: Allowing filibuster to be used to deny voting rights would be 'catastrophic' 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 LoefflerAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks MORE (R) early Wednesday morning.

The former president had hit the campaign trail for Warnock and Jon OssoffJon OssoffAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE, and he appeared in several campaign ads for Warnock.

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Ossoff is currently leading in his race against Republican David PerdueDavid PerdueAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks 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.

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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.