Democrats are on the cusp of taking the Senate majority after Rev. Raphael Warnock won his special election runoff in Georgia Tuesday night, defeating GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler as Georgia’s other Republican senator remains locked in a too-close-to-call runoff.
Warnock is the first Black Democrat to win election to the Senate from a Southern state and will be just the 11th Black senator in history, prevailing in the most closely divided state of the 2020 election after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in a divisive campaign.
But Democrats need to sweep both Georgia runoffs to take control of a 50-50 Senate once Vice President-elect Kamala Harris assumes her tiebreaking role later this month. The other race between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff remained too close to call early Wednesday morning, with Ossoff in the lead by just a few thousand votes.
Loeffler was appointed to the Senate a year ago to replace former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned due to health reasons. Warnock, the senior pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, will serve the remaining two years of that term but will have to run for reelection to a full term in 2022.
Republicans are seeking to preserve their foothold on power in Washington for the next two years after President Donald Trump lost the White House in November. The GOP’s hopes for retaining control of the Senate now hinge on Perdue defeating Ossoff.