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January 06, 2021 10:55 AM, GMT
Democrats won one hotly challenged U.S. Senate race in Georgia on Wednesday and pulled ahead in a second, edging nearer to control of the chamber and the power to progress Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s policy goals when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock defeats Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, TV networks and Edison Research anticipated. Democrat Jon Ossoff held a tight lead over Republican David Perdue in the other race, with an ultimate result not expected until later on Wednesday.
With 98% reporting, Warnock was ahead of Loeffler by 1.2 percentage points, around 50,000 votes, while Ossoff led Perdue by more than 12,000 votes, as indicated by Edison Research.
Democrats should win the two contests to take control of the Senate. A Democratic scope would make a 50-50 split in the Senate and give Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, the tie-breaking vote after she and Biden take office this month. The party already has a cramped majority in the United States House of Representatives.
If Republicans hold the other seat, they're going to adequately use veto power over Biden’s political and judicial appointees just as many of his legislative initiatives in areas like economic relief from the pandemic, climate change, healthcare and criminal justice.
A large portion of the remaining votes to be counted were in counties Biden won in Nov. with around 13,000 votes still to be counted in Democratic-leaning DeKalb County near Atlanta, as per Edison Research estimates, powering Democratic optimism about an shocking Georgia sweep. No Democrat had won a U.S. Senate race in Georgia in 20 years.
“We were told that we couldn’t win this election. Yet tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible,” Warnock, a Baptist preacher, stated before he was projected the winner.
He also added, “I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election.”
Warnock will turn into Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator and Ossoff, at 33, would be the Senate’s youngest member if he wins.
The critical races drew an expected 4.5 million voters - a record for a runoff - alongside almost half a billion dollars in advertising spending since Nov. 3 and visits on Monday by Republican President Donald Trump and Biden.
Even if they manage to secure a slim Senate majority, Biden and Democrats could find it difficult to propel some legislative priorities in the Senate, where most bills need to clear a 60-vote procedural threshold within the 100-seat chamber.
The head-to-head runoff elections in Georgia, a quirk of state law, became important when no candidate in either race drew quite 50% of the vote in November’s election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated election officials would take a break overnight yet resume counting on Wednesday morning. Hopefully by noon we’ll have a clearer idea where we are.
Perdue is a previous Fortune 500 executive who has served one Senate term. Loeffler, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, was named a year ago to fill the seat of a retiring senator.
Biden’s restricted statewide win over Trump in the Nov. 3 election - the primary victory for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 - gave the party reason for optimism in a state dominated by Republicans for quite a long time.
In Smyrna, about 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Atlanta, Terry Deuel stated he voted Republican to guarantee a check on Democratic power.
“The Democrats are going to raise taxes,” the 58-year-old handyman declared. “And Biden wants to give everyone free money - $2,000 each or something like that for COVID stimulus? Where are we going to get the money?”
Ann Henderson, 46, cast voting forms at the same area for Ossoff and Warnock, saying she needed to break Washington’s gridlock by delivering the Senate to Democrats.
“It’s the social issues - civil rights, racial equality, voting rights, pandemic response,” she stated. “If we take it, maybe we can get something done for a change.”
U.S. equity market index futures were extensively weaker as the outcomes turned in favor of the Democrats, flagging stocks could open on the soft side on Wednesday morning. The benchmark S&P 500 e-mini futures contract edged down 0.6%, while futures tracking the tech-heavy Nasdaq were off by 1.3%.
TRUMP PRESSURED GEORGIA OFFICIALSThe campaign’s last days were eclipsed by Trump’s endeavors to subvert the presidential election outcomes.
On Saturday, Trump forced Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, on a phone call to discover enough votes to invert Biden’s victory, falsely claiming massive fraud.
Trump’s bid to release his loss - with some Republicans getting to object to the certification of Biden’s win when Congress meets on Wednesday to formally count the presidential vote - have split his party and drawn condemnation from critics who accuse him of undermining democracy.
At a rally in Georgia on Monday night, Trump also pronounced the November vote “rigged,” a declaration some Republicans worried would dissuade his supporters from voting on Tuesday.
His attacks seem to have subverted public confidence in the electoral system. Edison’s poll discovered more than seven in 10 were very or to some degree confident their votes would be counted precisely, down from 85% who stated the equivalent in a Nov. 3 exit poll.