Democrat Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia runoffs for the U.S. Senate, per AP.
Why it matters: The high-dollar win brings Democrats one step closer to controlling the Senate. Warnock’s race was run in tandem with Democrat Jon Ossoff’s bid against former Sen. David Perdue. Both Ossoff and Warnock need to win in order for Democrats to gain a potent 50-50 split in the Senate.
- In that event, the vice president determines which party will hold the majority. In this case, Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote after Jan. 20.
- Warnock, an ordained minister who serves as senior pastor at Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, will join Cory Booker as the only two Black Democratic senators after Inauguration Day.
What they’re saying: In a video posted early Wednesday, Warnock said: “We were told we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side anything is possible.”
- In her speech moments before Warnock’s, Loeffler refused to concede and insisted she was on a “path to victory.”
Between the lines: Loeffler, an incumbent appointed to the seat in 2019, faced accusations of insider trading earlier this year after selling off massive amounts of stock following briefings on the coronavirus.
- Republicans also feared that President Trump’s spread of misinformation around the election and his bashing of Georgia’s Republican officials could dampen turnout.
- Trump, who lost Georgia by over 11,000 votes, falsely claimed the state’s elections were rigged against him and has pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to overturn the results.
Yes, but: Trump still turned out to campaign for Loeffler and Perdue on Monday in Dalton, Ga.
- “These Senate seats are truly the last line of defense. It’s really fight for our country, not a fight for Trump,” the president said, alluding to his hopes for the Senate to reject the Electoral College results.
President-elect Biden rallied for Democrats in Atlanta on Monday, focusing on the potential for more economic stimulus if Warnock and Ossoff were to win.
- “Two-thousand-dollar checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now,” Biden said.