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Warnock, Ossoff to be sworn into Senate Wednesday afternoon

Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will be sworn in as Georgia's new senators on Wednesday, hours after President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take their oaths of office. 

The swearing-in ceremonies for the two Georgia Democrats will take place at the U.S. Capitol at 4:30 p.m. EST, their campaigns announced on Tuesday. The ceremonies will be presided over by Kamala Harris, who at that point will be vice president. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified their electoral victories, reaffirming the two Democrats as the next senators from Georgia.

Warnock and Ossoff won a pair of runoff elections earlier this month, ousting Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), respectively. 

Their victories were a massive boon to Democrats, effectively handing the party control of the Senate. Once they are sworn in, the upper chamber will be split evenly between the two parties, though Harris will cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie.

Both Warnock and Ossoff will break barriers when they are sworn in. 

Warnock will become Georgia's first Black senator and only the second Black senator from a southern state since Reconstruction. Ossoff, meanwhile, will be the first Jewish senator from Georgia.

Once a Republican stronghold, Georgia has become one of the fastest-growing and most-diverse battlegrounds in the country, marked by fierce and increasingly close elections.

Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in nearly three decades in November after he narrowly defeated President Trump in Georgia. 

Ossoff and Warnock didn't receive enough support at the time to win their respective races outright. But both advanced to runoff elections that garnered national attention and hundreds of millions of dollars in political spending.

Their victories in the Jan. 6 runoff elections were driven by record-shattering voter turnout, especially in Democratic-leaning parts of the state, like Atlanta and its sprawling suburbs.

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