Raphael Warnock wished to win
Rev. Raphael Warnock won the Georgia Senate runoff by reversing a Republican seat and bringing Democrats one step closer to unified control of Congress and the White House, NBC News predicts.
In the other Senate runoffs, Democrat Jon Ossoff led Republican Senator David Perdue with 98% of the expected vote, but NBC said the race was too close.
Warnock’s proposed victory over Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler would make the Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor the first African-American senator to be elected in Georgia and the first black Democrat from the south. Two Black Republicans from Mississippi served in the Senate during the Reconstruction.
He will be one of three black senators in the new congressional session and the 11th in history.
“I come before you tonight as a man who knows that the unlikely journey that took me to this place at this historic moment in America could only take place here,” Warnock said early Wednesday. “I promise you this tonight: I will go to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you voted for in this election.”
Loeffler, a former managing director who was supposed to temporarily occupy the Senate seat, refused to admit on Wednesday, saying: “We will win this election.”
The Democratic Senate candidate, Raphael Warnock, speaks on his campaign YouTube account after the runoff elections against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, on January 6, 2021.
Warnock for Georgia | Reuters
With Warnock’s planned victory, the Democratic caucus has 49 members in the upper chamber while the Senate Republicans have 50 seats. If Ossoff wins, the Senate will be split evenly, giving the elected Vice President Kamala Harris the casting vote. Democratic oversight of Congress would give President-elect Joe Biden more leeway to implement his legislative priorities.
“America is experiencing one of the greatest crises we have ever faced and the Senate Democratic majority is committed to making the bold change and helping the Americans who need and demand it. Senate Democrats know America hurts – help is on the way, “Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Wednesday. If Ossoff is elected, Schumer would be the majority leader of the Senate after Harris took office as vice president.
The 51-year-old Warnock and the 50-year-old Loeffler emerged as the two best players in an overcrowded special election in November. The seat opened after former Republican Senator Johnny Isakson retired. Under Georgia electoral rules, both Senate seats went to the runoff, as none of the candidates received more than 50% of the vote in November.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, the special election between Loeffler and Warnock was the second most expensive Senate race of all time, directly behind this year’s competition between Perdue and Ossoff. The Loeffler and Warnock race cost nearly $ 363 million on Monday.
During the campaign, Warnock frequently highlighted his life’s journey, from growing up in Savannah’s public housing to preaching in the famous Atlanta pulpit where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
Loeffler repeatedly branded her opponent as “radical-liberal Raphael Warnock” and tied him to what she believed to be a socialist agenda, including “Medicare for All”, the Green New Deal and the defunding of the police. Warnock himself does not support this policy, although he has spoken out in favor of expanding Medicaid, investing in green energy and reforming the criminal justice system.
“He’s someone who would fundamentally change this country,” Loeffler told Fox News on Sunday. “Its values do not coincide with Georgia.”
Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler speaks at the GA GOP election night runoff for the two seats of the Georgian Senate in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, Jan. 6, 2021.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Loeffler’s campaign used soundbites from Warnock’s previous sermons to accuse him of being anti-gun, anti-military, anti-police, and anti-Israel. The Warnock campaign said these clips have been taken out of context and do not reflect his stance.
A coalition of black pastors in Georgia wrote an open letter to Loeffler in late December urging them to stop calling Warnock “radical” or “socialist”.
“We see your attacks on Warnock as a broader attack on the Black Church and the faith traditions we stand for,” said the pastors.
Loeffler tried to combine Warnock in 1995 with a visit by the Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro to a church in which he had been a youth pastor. Warnock said he never met Castro and PolitiFact found no evidence that he was involved in any decisions regarding appearance.
Warnock beat Loeffler for taking a picture at a campaign rally with white supremacist Chester Doles, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she did, she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn everything he stands for with the loudest words,” Loeffler spokesman Stephen Lawson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
GOP Governor Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler in part to appeal to more moderate suburban women who turned away from the GOP in response to Donald Trump’s presidency. While Loeffler was once a supporter of Senator Mitt Romney, she has been closely allied with Trump since her appointment as Senator, including his unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud.
Loeffler refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory or that the elected President of Georgia won votes. She announced on Monday evening that she would speak out against certification of the results of the electoral college on Wednesday, a maneuver that is likely to fail. The move came after Trump appeared to threaten Republican Secretary of State of Georgia Brad Raffensperger during a phone call over the weekend and pressured election officials to find referendums that would sway the count in his favor and turn election results upside down.
“Senator Loeffler has the responsibility to speak out against the unfounded allegations of fraud, to defend Georgia’s election and put Georgia before itself. It has and never will,” Warnock said on Sunday.
Warnock repeatedly accused Loeffler, one of the richest members of Congress, of insider trading, saying she used private knowledge she received as a senator about the coronavirus pandemic to make advantageous stock deals in early 2020.
“She dumped millions of dollars in stocks, downplayed them, and then when she could help ordinary people, she didn’t. And the people of Georgia haven’t seen any relief in months,” Warnock said on a December 6th debate against Loeffler.
Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and chairman and CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange holding company, were screened in March for deals that sold up to $ 3 million in securities. These sales came just before the stock market indices dropped dramatically in response to the spread of Covid in the United States
The senator’s investment activity led the Justice Department to investigate, but the prosecutor’s office declined to bring charges. Loeffler has repeatedly denied allegations of illegal or improper trading in stocks.
Loeffler extolled the CARES bill and the passing of the recent $ 900 billion Covid Relief Act as evidence that it brought much-needed aid to the fighting Georgians during the pandemic. Democrats, she said, stopped efforts to pass an aid package earlier.
When Trump pushed for larger stimulus checks of $ 2,000, Warnock took the opportunity to criticize Loeffler for speaking out against a larger direct payment earlier in the Covid relief negotiations. Loeffler later broke up with many Senate Republicans to support the president’s call for $ 2,000 direct payments to Americans.
The seat will be re-elected in 2022 for a full six-year term.