Georgia turns blue again in Senate runoffs

AIS COOK, Staff Writer

For the first time since 2015, the democrats have a majority in the senate. On January 5, the state of Georgia held two senate runoff elections. In the regular election, democrat Jon Ossoff defeated republican incumbent David Perdue, becoming Georgia’s first Jewish senator, and in the special election, democrat Raphael Warnock defeated republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, becoming Georgia’s first Black senator. Both victories surpassed the .5 percent margin in which a recount can be requested under Georgia law.

Increased democratic turnout in these elections is largely credited to the work of activist and politician Stacey Abrams, who after a razor-thin loss for a bid for governor in 2018, pushed for the enfranchisement of suppressed Black voters throughout the state. Black people voted in record numbers, pushing the former republican stronghold to be a battleground state with two democratic senators. Her work sets a framework for other currently red states in the south to become more blue through the enfranchisement of Black voters. Warnock being the first Black democrat to be a senator from the south is also a symbol of this shift.

Warnock thanked his mother, highlighting the significance of his win. “The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” Warnock said. 

The two senators-elect will be sworn into office after their wins are certified, which will occur within the week of January 15th to January 22nd, joining 46 other democratic senators (as well as 2 independents that caucus with democrats) to make the democratic senate. Ossoff will serve a senator’s normal 6 year term, while Warnock will serve the rest of retired Senator Isakson’s term and be up for reelection in 2022.