Democrat Raphael Warnock was declared the winner in one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, making history as the state’s first Black senator, according to several media reports early Wednesday.
A pastor at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler by a 53,000-vote margin with 98 percent of precincts reporting as of 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.
Warnock, 51, thanked all the people in Georgia and acknowledged the “underdog” victory with a video to his supporters. “Whether you voted for me or not, – I hear you, I see you, and every day I’m in the Senate, I will fight for you.”
Loeffler has yet to concede and has announced her intentions to content the results.
There’s a small fraction of mail-in and overseas military ballots left to be counted statewide, but a majority of those are coming from Democratic-leaning counties. Georgia law says a candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than a half percent.
It was a huge blow to the GOP’s chances of retaining control in the senate and a parting shot to President Donald Trump, who made trips to Georgia to back Loeffler and the other runoff incumbent David Perdue.
Warnock’s victory is a flip in a once deep red state with a roaring amount of diversity in the urban areas of Georgia. It follows a victory by President-elect Joe Biden in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate take the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
The other race between Perdue and Jon Ossoff has yet to be called with the 33-year-old Democrat holding a slight lead on Wednesday morning. If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress, giving Biden’s a super majority as he takes office on Jan. 20.