Democrats on Wednesday completed a sweep of the two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in runoff elections in Georgia, giving the party control of the chamber and boosting the prospects for President-elect Joe Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda.
Edison Research projected victory for Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, on Wednesday afternoon after fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Baptist preacher, was projected as the victor in his Senate race in the early hours of Wednesday.
In Tuesday’s runoffs, Warnock defeated Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed a year ago to fill the seat of a retiring senator, and Ossoff beat David Perdue, who served a single term in the Senate.
Ossoff drew 50.3% and Perdue had 49.7% with 98% of the expected vote in, according to Edison. That pushed Ossoff’s lead beyond the margin needed to avoid a possible recount, and Edison said it expected his lead to grow.
The double Democratic triumph splits the Senate 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote giving Democrats control of the chamber. Each of the 50 states is represented by two senators in the 100-seat chamber.
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The sweep by the two Democratic candidates gives their party control of both chambers of Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade, dramatically shifting the balance of power in Washington.
News of Ossoff's victory comes as the U.S. Capitol was put on lockdown as crowds protesting President-elect Joe Biden's victory stormed the Capitol while Congress was debating the certification of his electoral win over President Donald Trump.
In a speech earlier Wednesday, Ossoff claimed victory, saying the campaign has been about health, jobs and justice for Georgians.
He added that he intends to serve all people in the state.
Biden said earlier on Wednesday he was hopeful Ossoff would be victorious after Warnock was projected to win one of the two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in Tuesday's runoff elections.
Biden in a statement promised to work with both parties to address the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward his cabinet nominations, adding it looked like Georgia's voters had given Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile President Donald Trump continued to push unfounded claims of a rigged election. "These scoundrels are only toying with the @sendavidperdue (a great guy) vote. Just didn’t want to announce quite yet. They’ve got as many ballots as are necessary. Rigged Election!" the president tweeted.