Called by the Associated Press on Wednesday morning (EST) just after midnight, Reverend Raphael Warnock was officially declared the winner of the highly-anticipated Georgia U.S. Senate runoff. With this win, the Democratic party has moved one step closer to a majority in the Senate, and Georgia has gained its first-ever black Senator. Warnock will also serve as the first black Democrat from the South.
The contentious race between Warnock and his opponent, incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, was a close one with Warnock winning only one percent more of the votes than Loeffler. Their special election came as a result of the retirement of former Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. Under Georgia election rules, the Senate seat was forced to move to runoffs due to the fact that neither of the candidates received more than 50% of the vote back in November. The resulting election was the second most expensive Senate race ever, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The overall cost came to $363 million as of Monday. Many Republicans blame the outcome of the expensive race directly on the President and his attitude towards the American system of elections.
Prior to the announcement of Warnock’s win, Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, told CNN’s Amara Walker that if the Republicans ended up losing the Georgia Senate runoff races, then the blame would “fall squarely on the shoulders of President Trump.” After the announcement from the Associated Press Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah appeared to agree with Sterling saying, “It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters.” Other Senators including Senate Republicans John Thune of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota stated that President Trump’s rhetoric about elections was “not helpful.”
The other Georgia U.S. Senate runoff has yet to be called; however, according to USA Today, Democrat Jon Ossof is also on the path to victory against Republican Devid Perdue with 98% percent of the votes counted. Results should be in by 1 p.m. EST Wednesday.