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Dems win first Georgia runoff, control of Senate in reach

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Democrat Raphael Warnock ousted an incumbent Republican on January 6 in the first of two critical runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate at the outset of Joe Biden’s presidency, networks projected. AFP

ATLANTA, United States (AFP) – Joe Biden’s Democratic Party took a giant step yesterday towards seizing control of the US Senate as they won the first of two Georgia run-offs, hours before Congress was set to certify the president-elect’s victory over Donald Trump.

Reverend Raphael Warnock’s victory, projected by multiple US networks overnight, capped a gruelling nine-week runoff campaign and puts Georgia’s other knife-edge race in the spotlight for its potential to impact the balance of power in Washington.

“I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia,” Warnock said in a live stream to supporters.

Should Republicans lose the second race it would be a political debacle just hours before Trump is expected to suffer another bitter blow when Congress affirms Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Warnock, 51, made history as just the third African-American to win a Senate seat from the South. He defeated Kelly Loeffler, a 50-year-old businesswoman appointed to the Senate in December 2019.

In the second race, Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign manager said in a statement that once all votes are counted they “fully expect” Ossoff will have defeated his Republican opponent.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Ossoff edged out to a 0.22 percent lead, and analysts have said he was well placed to win, with outstanding votes coming from Democratic-leaning regions such as Atlanta.

Such results would be a major political upset in a GOP bastion, a southern state that has been reliably Republican for two decades but which Biden won in an upset on November 3 as he marched to victory against Trump in the presidential race.

It would also send reverberations through Washington and the nation, as it would essentially hand Biden’s Democrats the levers of power in the executive branch and both chambers of Congress.


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