Georgia’s Democratic candidates for Senate celebrated on Wednesday putting their party on the precipice of controlling both houses of Congress, a shift that would have monumental implications for the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s newest senator-elect, said Wednesday that he was was excited to soon begin work in Congress. Jon Ossoff, the Democrat running in Georgia’s other Senate contest, claimed victory in a Wednesday morning speech even though his race remained too close to call as local election officials continued to count votes.
“I can’t wait to get to work, to put my boots on, and represent the people’s concerns in the United States Senate,” Warnock told NBC’s “Today” show — the first of several interviews he gave to various networks after defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in the special election for her seat.
“I hope to be the pastor among peers in the United States Senate. To appeal to the better angels of our nature. And to remind us that Dr. King was right: We’re tied in a single garment of destiny,” he said.
Warnock’s win early Wednesday morning resets Republicans’ majority in the Senate to 50-49, bringing Democrats to the brink of control of the chamber with the results of Georgia’s other runoff race still outstanding. Ossoff currently leads Republican David Perdue by more than 16,000 ballots with about 98 percent of the expected vote already tallied.
Nevertheless, Ossoff declared himself the winner in a video message on Wednesday morning, pledging to “serve all the people of the state” and to “give everything I’ve got to ensuring that Georgia’s interests are represented” in the Senate.
“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” he said. “Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.”
The roughly 100,000 votes still left to be recorded in Georgia will likely favor the Democrats significantly. If Ossoff also prevails over Perdue, the balance of power in the Senate will strike even at 50-50, allowing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes on key pieces of the incoming administration’s legislative agenda.
Loeffler has thus far refused to concede the race to Warnock, but the senator-elect said Wednesday morning: “Oh, I expect to serve in just a few days.” With his swearing-in, Warnock will become the first Black Democrat to win election to the Senate from a Southern state and only the 11th Black senator in American history.
“I can’t tell you how honored I am that the people of my home state — where I was born and raised and educated at Morehouse College — have decided to send me to the United States Senate to represent their concerns at this defining moment in American history,” Warnock said.
“It’s the honor of my life that I get to represent the people of this very great state in the United States Senate,” he added.