Democrat Raphael Warnock won the first of two critical runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate at the outset of Joe Biden's presidency.(AFP file)
Democrat Raphael Warnock won the first of two critical runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate at the outset of Joe Biden's presidency.(AFP file)

Democrats win one Georgia runoff election, poised to pick the second

If Democrats secure victories in the two seats, they will wrest control of the Senate from Republicans and complete a trifecta, with the House of Representatives and the White House already in the bag, starting January 20.
By Yashwant Raj , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, Washington
UPDATED ON JAN 06, 2021 10:14 PM IST

In the decisive battle for the US Senate control, Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler by more than 40,000 votes and Jon Ossoff, the other Democrat, led David Perdue, the sitting Republican senator, by over 3,600.

Victories by Warnock and Ossoff — if and when the second happens — will raise the number of Democrats in the Senate from current 48 to 50, splitting the majority in the 100-member chamber with Republicans. But with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate, Democrats will be in control.

Democrats will wrest control of the Senate from Republicans and complete a trifecta, with the House of Representatives and the White House already in the bag, starting January 20.

With both chambers of Congress in Democratic control, President-elect Joe Biden will have an easier time pursuing his legislative agenda. And the Senate win, on its own, will allow his nominees to be confirmed easily, especially those that Republicans were threatening to block.

“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,” said Warnock in a brief victory speech. “May my story be an inspiration to some young person who is trying to grasp and grab hold of the American dream.”

Warnock will be the first African American senator from Georgia. He is reverend of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, which was once led by Martin Luther King Jr, the civil rights leader.

And Ossoff, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, will be the first Jewish senator from Georgia. His campaign said in a statement, which was released shortly before he overtook Perdue, “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. The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant. We look forward to seeing the process through in the coming hours and moving ahead so Jon can start fighting for all Georgians in the US Senate.”

Outgoing President Donald Trump was tracking the run-offs — as it seemed from his tweets, when he pointed to some technical difficulties during counting — but he was preoccupied with his efforts to overturn his own election defeat o Biden.

He tweeted about a rally he was to address on Wednesday before congress begins the process certify Biden’s election, which his Republican allies will try to block, and fail.

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