By Miriam Raftery
January 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is posed to shift to Democratic control following apparent victories in two Georgia Senate runoff races yesterday.
Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock has been declared the winner over incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler by more than a 36,000 vote margin, with only about 65,000 votes remaining to be tallied and the outstanding votes in heavily Democratic areas. Warnock, an African-American is pastor at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached.
Republican Senator David Perdue appears to be defeated by Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, with a lead currently of around 17,000 votes. Both Democratic candidates appear likely to win by enough of a margin to avoid a recount.
The dual wins will give Democrats and Republicans 50 seats each in the Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris will cast tie-breaking votes in her role as president of the Senate.
The changes means that Mitch McConnell will no longer be the Senate Majority Leader, a role that will now shift to Chuck Schumer.
President-Elect Joe Biden has announced that with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, he intends to make passage of a larger stimulus relief package his top priority after his January 20 inauguration.
Warnock, who will become the first African-American to represent Georgia in the Senate, is one of 12 children, raised in public housing. “May my story be an inspiration to some young person who is trying to grasp and grab hold of the American dream,” he said on CBS.
The elections had record turnout of over 4.5 million votes counted thus far. The remaining ballots including military ballots that can be received over the next three days are expected to be tallied this week.