Georgia Runoff Decides Senate Control

Author: John Ramspott, Used Under Creative Commons License

In order to be elected to a Senate seat in the state of Georgia, a candidate must beat their opponents with over 50 percent of the vote. During the general election on November 3, in which two Senate races were on the ballot in Georgia, none of the four current candidates met this threshold, resulting in a rematch in the form of a special runoff election. With 98 percent of the vote now counted, the Associated Press, ABC News and NBC News have declared that the Democratic candidates were victorious in both races. Raphael Warnock, a black minister from Atlanta, defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler with 50.6 percent of the vote, projecting him to be not only Georgia’s first Democratic Senator in a decade, but also its first black Senator. Simultaneously, Jon Ossoff, a Jewish investigative crime journalist and Georgia native, defeated incumbent David Perdue at 50.31 percent.

The results of the Georgia runoffs are both a monumental moment in modern American history due to the diversity of the candidates as well as uniquely impactful in the lives of those of us living outside Georgia. Flipping two formerly Republican seats will shift the balance of power in the Senate to a Democratic majority, giving incoming President-elect Joe Biden the power to move ahead with tackling issues substantially important to his platform that would likely have been stalled in a Republican-controlled congress. House Representative Pramila Jayapal, whose congressional district stretches from Tacoma to Edmonds and includes most of Seattle, summarizes the importance of the Georgia runoffs in a tweet (https://twitter.com/RepJayapal/status/1346686036072673280) as such: “Victory in Georgia must lead to transformative change across America! Recurring survival checks, union jobs that pay a living wage, guaranteed health care, racial justice, voting rights, immigration reform, climate action, repro[ductive] justice, education and much more.”

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