Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have won runoff races within the southern state of Georgia, the Associated Press agency has projected.
The victories will give Democrats control of the United States Senate and have national ramifications for President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration when he takes office later this month.
The election of both candidates are historic. Warnock, 51, who is pastor for the same Atlanta church that civil rights leader Luther King Jr. once led, will become the first Black senator from Georgia in history and therefore the first Black Democrat ever from the American South. Ossoff will become the primary Jewish senator from Georgia.
At 33 years-old, he will be the youngest senator and therefore the first of the Millennial-generation within the chamber.
With their victories, Democrats will control the House of Representatives, the White House and now the Senate in 2021, allowing Biden to enact his agenda with less resistance from Republicans.
While the chamber will have 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats (including two independent lawmakers that caucus with Democrats), Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as tie-breaker.
For the past two months, Republicans and Democrats waged a fierce battle over the state, pouring quite $500 million combined into the run-off races to advertise and mobilise voters. the result is an affirmation that political coalitions and power structures in Georgia – where Republicans have enjoyed dominance for decades–have undergone a huge shift.
Democrats, partially because of a decade-long effort led by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to register many thousands of recent voters, were pushed to victory by high turnout among Black voters and a rapidly increasing population, particularly within the state’s growing cities.
“African Americans made up a bigger portion of early voters during this election than they did in the election ,” said Andra Gillespie, a professor of politics at Emory University in Atlanta. “That suggests mobilization efforts improved that were targeting these particular groups. which bodes well for Democrats.”
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