Dems Take One Georgia Senate Seat - Poised to Win Second
Democratic challengers were on the threshold of capturing two Republican-held Senate seats in Georgia on Tuesday night, an astonishing political upset that would transform the political landscape in Washington in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.
State election officials did not call the results before shutting down operations in the first hours of Wednesday in Georgia, with counting to continue later in the day.
However, Rev. Raphael Warnock declared victory over Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, about an hour before the Associated Press, NBC and ABC all declared him the projected winner.
"We were told that we couldn't win this election," said Rev. Warnock, pastor of Atlanta's famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, who would become the first Black Senator from Georgia in history. “But tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”
Shortly before midnight, Pacific time, fellow Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff moved ahead of Republican Senator David Perdue for the first time in the vote tally, and district-by-district analysis by major media organizations show that votes remaining to be counted are largely from Democratic and liberal areas.
"When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election," his campaign manager said in a statement. "The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon's performance has been dominant."
At post time, with 97 percent of the vote counted, these were the counts:
Warnock 2,220,300 50.5%
Loeffler 2,173,749 49.5%
Ossoff 2,201,741 50.11%
Perdue 2,192,214 49.89%
The twin victories would give each party 50 members in the 100-seat Senate. But with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris empowered to break tie votes, the Biden Administration would have an effective, if minimal, working majority.
This would break the stranglehold that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has held over Democratic legislation and federal judicial appointments since the GOP took control of the Senate in 2015. It also would provide a pathway for Biden to implement his agenda on fighting the pandemic, providing economic relief and combatting climate change, among other issues.
The stunning news from Georgia came just hours before about a dozen Republican Senators, egged on by Donald Trump, plan to challenge certified vote counts from a number of states that Biden won, in a performative, dead-ender effort to overturn the Electoral College vote for the presidential election.
Among other things, the news from Georgia represents yet another humiliating defeat for Trump.
If the Warnock's win and Ossoff's lead hold up through all but certain legal efforts by Republicans to challenge them, Trump's four years in office will have resulted in his party losing the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Image: Rev. Raphael Warnock (CBS46.com).