Democratic hopes for Senate control alive as Warnock projected to beat Loeffler, Ossoff-Perdue race too close
Even if Georgia becomes purple, US needs to learn to work together: Alveda King
Niece of MLK Jr. Alveda King weighs in on the strong possibility of Georgia turning purple.
Democrats moved a step closer to taking control of the Senate on Wednesday after winning one of two critical runoff elections in Georgia, with Rev. Raphael Warnock projected to defeat incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler while the second contest remains neck-and-neck.
"Georgia, I am honored by the faith that you have shown in me, and I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election," Warnock, who will become the first Black senator from Georgia, said in brief remarks delivered virtually.
Democrats need to win both races in order to flip the Senate. The other contest between David Perdue, the Republican whose Senate term ended on Sunday, and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff is still too close to call as of Wednesday morning, with tens of thousands of votes needing to be counted.
WARNOCK DECLARES VICTORY IN GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF, AS LOEFFLER SAYS SHE HAS A 'PATH TO VICTORY'
DeKalb County, a Democratic stronghold in suburban Atlanta, began experiencing technical issues early Wednesday morning and, as a result, an election official said the 19,000 remaining ballots will be "manually scanned in order to be tabulated and added to the total vote count," potentially delaying results.
"The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant," Ossoff’s campaign manager Ellen Foster in a statement early Wednesday.
Perdue's campaign also issued a statement shortly after 2 a.m. saying the race is "exceptionally close" but predicting victory.
"As we've said repeatedly over the last several weeks and as recently as this evening, this is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard," the Perdue campaign said.
With control of the Senate hanging in the balance, the stakes for the twin contests were astronomical, eliciting national attention and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending in just two months to a once reliably red state that's become a must-win battleground. In November, Joe Biden defeated President Trump in Georgia by less than 12,000 votes out of the 5 million cast in the state, winning 16 electoral votes. Both Biden and Trump campaigned in the state on Monday.
If Ossoff defeats Perdue, Democrats would secure a 50-50 split in the upper chamber, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris then casting tie-breaking votes.
BIDEN SAYS DEMOCRATIC VICTORIES IN GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFFS WOULD LEAD TO $2,000 STIMULUS CHECKS
But if Perdue wins and the GOP retains a majority, Republicans would be able to block Biden's Cabinet appointments, legislative agenda and judicial nominees — and have the power to "chart the course, not just for four years, but for the next generation," the incoming president told supporters during a drive-in rally on Monday.
Warnock, who has never previously run for public office, is the senior pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s former church in Atlanta. He will make history as the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate in the South and will be just the 11th Black senator in history.
"Congratulations to our next U.S. Senator," former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams wrote in a tweet. "Soon, he will walk those august halls and cast votes as a leader with courage, justice and integrity. God bless you and keep you in your service to us all."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, appointed Loeffler to the Senate a year ago to replace former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned due to health reasons. Warnock will serve the remaining two years of that term and will need to run for reelection for a full six-year term in 2022.
Loeffler declined to concede the race before Fox News and other media outlets projected Warnock had won and encouraged her supporters to "keep fighting."
"We're gonna make sure every vote is counted," she told supporters from an election watch party in Atlanta. "Every legal vote will be counted. And I'm not gonna stop working."
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Georgia's rules on recounts allow a losing candidate to request one if the race is within half a percentage point. As of 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, Warnock had 50.6% of the vote and Ossoff had 50.2% with 98% of the results reported, according to Fox News projections.
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