Democrats take back the Senate as Warnock and Ossoff win the Georgia state runoffs

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Sam Capuano, Staff Writer

After an additional three months of campaigning and waiting, the Georgia Senate runoff elections have ended.  The runoff, which took place on Jan. 5, was necessary because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the November elections.  According to Georgia law, when neither candidate receives a majority of the vote, there is a second election  in January.  

The first race was between Democrat Jon Ossoff, and incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue.  The second race was between Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock and incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.  The entire country turned its attention to Georgia, as the results would determine the controlling majority in the Senate. 

Jon Ossoff defeated David Perdue, becoming the youngest Democrat to be elected to the Senate since Joe Biden in 1973 (How old is Ossoff?).  He won by over 55,000 votes, and appealed to many young and minority voters.  Ossoff believes in progressive policies, like healthcare for all, investing in clean energy, and lowering taxes for working families and small businesses.  

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” said Senator-elect Jon Ossoff following his victory.

Raphael Warnock defeated his opponent, Kelly Loeffler, by about 95,000 votes.  Warnock made history by becoming the first black man to be elected to the Senate from Georgia.

The WNBA significantly helped Warnock.  Specifically, the  Atlanta Dream, which Warnock’s opponent Loeffler co-owns.  After Loeffler criticized the WNBA for its stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization peacefully protested against Loeffler.  The team helped Warnock win the Senate race and his campaign received $236,000 and 4,000 followers on Twitter from the Dream’s efforts alone.  

“We stood together in honor of who we thought should rightfully win the election,” said Atlanta Dream player Chennedy Carter when asked why she and her teammates started a campaign in support of Raphael Warnock.

Senator-elect Warnock also supports a progressive agenda, including stricter gun control legislation, government funding of renewable energy sources, and the continuation of Obamacare.

The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States Senator . . . The improbable journey that led me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here,” said Senator-elect Warnock in a live-streamed address.

The Democratic wins in Georgia are in part due to the work of Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor of Georgia in 2018.  She has been a part of a decade-long campaign to flip Georgia blue.  She began with her New Georgia Project and formed the Fair Fight campaign after losing her election.  Her mission to increase minority voter turnout has come to fruition, as voter registration in the Latino community increased by 95,000 people, Asian American voter registration increased by 63,000, and Native American registration doubled  from 6,000 to 15,000 since 2016.  Other notable women who helped flip Georgia for Democrats include Deborah Scott, Felicia Davis, and Nikema Williams. Ms. Williams previously worked with Planned Parenthood and is the Chair of Georgia’s Democratic Party.

With these combined efforts, Georgians were able to elect the first Black and Jewish senators from Georgia.  However, this is more consequential for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who will work with the 50-50 Senate to break the tie, essentially securing Democratic control of Congress.