The Rev. Raphael Warnock, 51, pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church once led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has become the first Black U. S. senator elected from the state of Georgia.
As votes were still being counted, the Associated Press, CNN and even the rock-hard conservative FOX News, called the race for Warnock shortly after 2 a.m., announcing that he would surely defeat the ultra-conservative incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff election watched around the nation. At that time, Warnock had won 50.6 percent of the vote with 2,227,296 to Loeffler’s 49.4 percent, 2,173,866, a difference of 53,430 votes.
Warnock’s historic win was the first of two wins needed to solidify the Democratic dominance in the U. S. Senate. The second race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue was won by declared for Ossoff later that day. Ossoff’s and Warnock’s victory grants Democrats control of the Senate with a 50-50 tie vote that would be broken by Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris. Democrats will now have control of the White House, U. S. House of Representatives, and the U. S. Senate.
At press time, neither Loeffler nor Perdue, devoted Trump supporters, had conceded their race. “We have a path to victory, and we’re staying on it,” said Loeffler.
In a stirring early morning speech, Warnock marked the historicity of the moment.
“I come before you as a proud American and a son of Georgia. My roots are planted deeply in Georgia soil,” he said, “A child who grew up in the Kayton Homes housing projects of Savannah, Georgia. Number 11 of 12 children. A proud graduate of Morehouse College and the Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis, A son of my late father who was a pastor, a veteran and a small businessman and my mother who, as a teenager growing up in Waycross, Georgia, used to pick somebody’s else’s cotton. But the other day, because this is America, 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.”
The Warnock win is largely due to the work of democratic activist Stacey Abrams, who was catapulted onto the national stage after losing her gubernatorial bid against Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in 2018. Her organization, Fair Fight, registered and turned out voters across the state.
The record turnout also appears to be yet another repudiation of President Trump who has spent the past two months trying to overturn the Biden election.
Warnock indicates he envisions a new style of leadership.
“In this moment in American history, Washington has a choice to make, we all have a choice to make,” he said in his speech. “Will we continue to divide, distract and dishonor one another or will we love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Will we play political games while real people suffer or will we win righteous fights together, standing shoulder to shoulder, for the good of Georgia, for the good of our country? Will we seek to destroy one another as enemies or heed the call towards the common good, building together what Dr. King called ‘the beloved community?’”