From USA Today and other reports
Democrats appear on the brink of taking control of the U.S. Senate with Raphael Warnock the projected winner over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Sen. David Perdue in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections.
Around 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, the Associated Press projected Warnock the winner over Loeffler after the Atlanta pastor built his statewide lead to more than 46,500 votes.
Warnock made history with his election win, becoming the first Black Democrat elected as a U.S. senator from a state in the South and only the 11th Black senator in the history of the nation. He becomes the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Georgia in 20 years.
“To everyone out there struggling today, whether you voted for me or not, know this,” Warnock said as he declared victory in a video from his home. “I hear you, I see you, and every day I’m in the United States Senate, I will fight for you. I will fight for your family.”
Warnock, who leads Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler by more than 54,000 votes, is the projected winner in his race. Ossoff leads Republican David Perdue by 17,025.
The Georgia Secretary of State says there are 62,000 mail-in votes, mostly from Democratic leaning Dekalb County that still need to be counted. There are also 5-10,000 provisional ballots that voters have until Friday to cure discrepancies to get these counted. There are also some military ballots that can be accepted and counted by Friday.
When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate,” Ossoff campaign manager Ellen Foster said in a statement. “The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant.”
The Perdue campaign was not ready to concede. In a statement, the Perdue campaign said the race — as they expected – 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.
“We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted. We believe in the end, Senator Perdue will be victorious.”
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia voting system implementation manager, said he expects most ballots to be counted by Wednesday but for final counts will not be until Friday.
Georgia election officials said turnout Tuesday shattered the previous record for a run-off in the state, including more than 3 million who voted early. Nearly $500 million was spent on campaign ads since Nov. 4, indicative of the significance both parties and special interests placed on the race.
Following the playbook that helped Republicans retain control of the Senate after the general election, Loeffler and Perdue attacked their opponents as “radical socialists” and said the fate of nation was at stake with the race.
Ossoff and Warnock slammed Loeffler and Perdue for being part of a Republican-controlled Senate that for months refused to pass additional federal coronavirus relief.
The election of two Democratic Senators from Georgia will give the Democrats control of the U. S. Senate. Although there will be a 50 to 50 tie, Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to cast the deciding tie breaking vote as President of the Senate.
This means that New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer takes over as Senate Majority leader from Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The Democrats will control and be able to name committee chairs of all legislative committees.
This also means that the Biden-Harris Administration will be able to have more success in passing its legislative agenda, approving cabinet and judicial appointees to the new Administration.