ATLANTA — On Thursday, Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler conceded to the Rev. Raphael Warnock in a video statement posted to Twitter.
“I want to thank every Georgian and every single American who believed in me and our campaign,” Loeffler said. “We accomplished so much in a short time — from delivering relief to hardworking Georgians during this pandemic, to funding our rural hospitals and health care, advocating for our farmers, our veterans, for school choice, and families. For standing up for conservative, American values.”
She continued, “Unfortunately, we came up slightly short in the runoff election — and earlier today I called Reverend Warnock to congratulate him and to wish him well in serving this great state.”
With 98 percent of the votes recorded, Loeffler trailed Warnock by nearly 100,000 votes. The Associated Press called the race for Warnock on Wednesday. In the other Senate runoff in the state, Democrat Jon Ossoff was declared the winner over Sen. David Perdue, giving Democrats a 50-50 tie in the Senate and control of the chamber thanks to the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Throughout the Senate campaign, Loeffler resorted to personal attacks on Warnock, calling him a “radical” pastor and attacking his family.
In a Thursday interview with Yahoo News, Warnock called Loeffler’s campaign tactics the “politics of distraction.”
“I was very clear from day one,” Warnock said. “She could call me whatever she wants and we weren’t surprised by this.
Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks at a Labor Union campaign rally. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
Raphael Warnock at a labor union campaign rally. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
“It is the politics of distraction and division, but we stayed on message,” he continued. “We centered the people of Georgia and their concerns and their families and their health care and their right to a livable wage. And they heard us loud and clear.”
On Wednesday, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, Loeffler backed away from a promise to contest the certification of Biden as president. She will remain in office until Jan. 22 at the latest.
Perdue concedes race to Jon Ossoff, sealing control of Senate for Democrats
Marquise Francis·National Reporter & Producer
Sat, January 9, 2021, 12:20 AM GMT+6
ATLANTA — Jon Ossoff’s victory in the Georgia Senate runoff election Jan. 5, together with Raphael Warnock’s win the same day, ensured Democrats will control the Senate for the next two years, a seismic shift of power in Washington. Warnock’s opponent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, conceded the race on Thursday, and after several days of silence the other Republican running, Sen. David Perdue, admitted his loss on Friday afternoon, Reuters correspondent David Shepardson reported.
"Although we won the general election, we came up just short of Georgia’s 50 percent rule, and now I want to congratulate the Democratic Party and my opponent for this runoff win,” Perdue said. He had received the most votes in a three-person race in the general election on Nov. 3, but Georgia law requires a majority, which led to Tuesday’s runoff.
“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in a video message posted to his Twitter account Wednesday morning, just hours before the Associated Press officially declared him the winner. “Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.”
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff speaks with members of the media at Dunbar Neighborhood Center in Atlanta. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
With the win, Ossoff becomes the first Jewish senator from Georgia and, at age 33, will be the youngest sitting U.S. senator (and the youngest person elected to the Senate since Joe Biden, who was 29 when he was elected, in 1972).
“I want to thank the people of Georgia for participating in this election, everybody who cast your ballot, everybody who put your faith and confidence in our democracy’s capacity to deliver the representation that we deserve. Whether you were for me or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate,” Ossoff said. “I will serve all the people of the state.”
As of Friday there were about 17,000 ballots untallied ballots from Georgians and military members overseas, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but Ossoff has already secured enough votes to solidify his win. With 98 percent of the vote tabulated as of Friday afternoon, Ossoff leads Perdue by nearly 50,000 votes, a margin larger than the threshold required to trigger a recount under Georgia law.
Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, wearing face masks, face each other
The Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff at a canvass launch block party in Augusta, Ga. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
But there are several procedural steps to go through before Warnock and Ossoff can actually be seated, which could stretch out until as late as Jan. 22.
With Ossoff and Warnock headed to the Senate, and the House remaining in Democratic control, Biden will be in a position to push progressive legislation at the outset of his administration, and to confirm his Cabinet and judicial nominees. The House will be up for grabs again in two years, and Warnock, who is filling an unexpired term, will have to run for a full term in 2022.
In an interview with Yahoo News last week, Ossoff said he knows his mentor, the late Rep. John Lewis, is smiling down on him.
“I know that John Lewis is looking down and smiling on the fact that a young Jewish son of an immigrant he mentored is running alongside a Black Baptist pastor who holds Dr. King’s pulpit at Ebenezer church,” Ossoff said. “This is the New South. This is the manifestation of decades of work.”
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