Raphael Warnock made history overnight, becoming the first Black person elected to the Senate from Georgia.
Peach State voters elected Warnock and were poised to make it a Democratic sweep if Jon Ossoff’s lead over Sen. David Perdue holds in a second runoff.
The Associated Press declared Warnock, pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the winner over Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga. Warnock will serve out the last two years of the term formerly held by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who retired at the end of 2019.
With 99.9% of precincts reporting, Warnock had 50.61% of the vote to Loeffler’s 49.39%.
The other race, for a full six-year term, was tighter. Ossoff led Perdue with 50.19% of the more than 4.4 million votes cast.
Both Perdue and Loeffler had easy victories in Walton County. Perdue had 75% of the vote; Loeffler, 74%.
In an interview with “Today” on NBC, Warnock said he hopes to take office soon.
“It took good public policy along with personal responsibility to get me here. And that American promise is alive and well. … But it’s slipping away from too many people, and I can’t wait to go to the U.S. Senate and bring the interests of ordinary people to that conversation,” Warnock said.
Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman and Republican megadonor, in hopes she could appeal to the suburban women who have been apt to leave the GOP in recent election cycles.
Instead, then-Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville — the choice of President Donald Trump for the Senate seat — entered and Loeffler tacked far to the right, proclaiming herself a rubber stamp for the president.
Warnock, Loeffler and Collins were among 22 people in the blanket primary Nov. 3, with Warnock finishing first and Loeffler second.
Meanwhile, Ossoff declared victory Wednesday morning. He pledged to work on economic relief for people affected by the pandemic.
“This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state — for all the people of this state. And they will be my guiding principles, as I serve this state in the U.S. Senate, ensuring that every Georgian has great health care, no matter our wealth; ensuring that we invest in an economic recovery that includes all communities; that rebuilds our state’s infrastructure; that lays the foundations for prosperity in rural Georgia, suburban communities and urban communities alike; and securing equal justice for all, following in the footsteps of leaders who have departed us in the past year like Congressman John Lewis and C.T. Vivian,” Ossoff said.
In a statement at 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Perdue’s campaign issued a statement that it was not conceding.