Democrats win control of Senate after Warnock, Ossoff victories
Democrats have won control of the Senate after securing victories in two runoff races in Georgia, a historic shift that will effectively give the party full control of the government under President-elect Joe Biden.
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), while Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Sen. David Perdue, in hotly contested runoff races, giving each party 50 seats in the Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking votes, giving Democrats control of the Senate for the first time since 2014.
Warnock’s victory over Loeffler was called early Wednesday morning. The race between Ossoff and Perdue was closer and was not called until the afternoon, as police clashed with a right-wing mob that stormed Capitol Hill to disrupt the Electoral College vote count.
Hours earlier, President Trump addressed tens of thousands of his supporters to claim that the November election and the Georgia Senate races had been stolen by Democrats through widespread fraud.
The Trump campaign lost more than 50 court cases centered around the president’s allegations of fraud and the election results have been certified in all 50 states.
Trump campaigned for Perdue and Loeffler in the days before the election, but GOP turnout was down in rural Republican strongholds. Black voters turned out for Democrats in record numbers, while the GOP’s weakness in the Atlanta suburbs may have cost them in the traditionally red state.
Once the vote count is certified, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to become the next Senate majority leader, ousting current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
McConnell on Wednesday issued a blistering rebuke of the Republicans who had joined an effort to challenge the Electoral College vote.
Schumer is expected to work closely with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his longtime ally in the House.
Democrats last controlled the House, Senate and White House when President Obama was first elected in 2008.
The victories by Biden, Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia this cycle represent a seismic shift in electoral politics.
Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by about 11,000 votes, making Trump the first GOP presidential candidate to lose Georgia since 1992. That was also the last time Democrats had two elected senators in the state.
Warnock, the senior pastor at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached, follows Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to become the second Black senator to represent a Southern state since Reconstruction.
Ossoff will become the first Jewish senator from Georgia.
Republicans only needed to win one of the two Georgia runoffs to maintain a slim majority in the Senate..
Many Republicans believe Trump’s sustained attacks against GOP officials in the state and his persistent claims that the election had been stolen from him played a major role in the upset losses.
The president is also being blamed by Republicans for the riots on Capitol Hill, which came directly after he incited his crowd of supporters to demand Congress overturn the outcome of the election.