Democrat Jon Ossoff claimed victory in the second of two special run-off votes in Georgia on Wednesday, giving the Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock was named winner of the other Senate runoff race in the U.S. state of Georgia late Tuesday. Warnock also became the first Black Democrat to win a Senate seat in a former Confederate state.
Warnock, the pastor of an Atlanta, Georgia, church once led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in a race that was called by Edison Research and the Associated Press early Wednesday after the candidates exchanged leads overnight.
The race between Ossoff and Republican Senator David Perdue was too close to call for much of the day. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and television documentary producer, had claimed victory early Wednesday but the race was too close to declare a winner at that time.
The victory gives Democrats full control of Congress, raising the possibility that President-elect Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers could more easily enact their legislative agenda.
Warnock and Ossoff needed heavy turnout from African American voters, as did Biden two months ago, when his popularity with Black voters and other groups allowed him to capture Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by almost 12,000 out of 5 million votes cast.
The wins by Ossoff and Warnock give Democrats a 50-50 split with Republicans and a chance for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be able to preside over Senate proceedings when she chooses, to cast tie-breaking votes in favor of Democrats.