By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Atlanta church where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor during the civil rights movement, is now the first Black Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate in the Deep South in the modern political era. Warnock is the first African American to win a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia’s history.
The runoff election featured historic turnout. A voter registration strategy implemented by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, along with a push by grassroots groups like Black Votes Matter, led by LaTosha Brown, was a deciding factor in Warnock’s decisive win. Black voters in Georgia over-performed in the early vote and on Election Day.
The balance of power in Washington and on Capitol Hill will now shift dramatically to Democrats who will now control Congress and The White House. The dual victories on the same night by Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff marks a repudiation of the GOP under Donald Trump.
Rev. Warnock won his heavily contested U.S. Senate race over billionaire Kelly Loeffler who was appointed to the Senate by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in December 2019. The U.S. Senate race cost over $200 million with soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell donating over $60 million from his PAC.
By late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning after Election Day in Georgia, Warnock had 2,227,296 votes to Loeffler’s 2,173,866.
On top of Warnock’s historic win, another Democrat, Jon Ossoff has won against incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue. As election results continued to come in showing how close the Warnock/Loeffler race would be, some Republicans began assigning blame for the coming loss to President Trump.
The stunning double victory on a single night for Democrats will change the trajectory of the presidency of Joseph Biden, which begins on January 20. The U.S. Senate will be tied 50-50 and Vice President-elect Kamara Harris will now become a pivotal figure required to often preside over the U.S. Senate from the presiding officers Chair and break ties on key policy and nominees.
In the race for The White House in 2020, Trump lost Georgia to Joe Biden by over 11,000 votes on November 3, 2020. In the days before the runoff elections in Georgia, Trump spent most of his time criticizing other Republicans in Georgia. Trump had earlier called into question the validity of the voting process in Georgia. The President also pressured Georgia officials to flip the state in his favor as Congress is set to officially certify the presidential election.
Trump’s words signaled an internal war in the Republican Party as the out-going President caused problems within the GOP. Trump attacked Republican Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger. That, along with out-going U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell single handedly blocked $2,000 checks to assist Americans in a pandemic that has killed over 350,000 people, likely impacting the results in Georgia.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke