Democratic senatorial candidate Jon Ossoff has declared victory against Senator David Perdue (R-GA) in the state’s runoff elections held Tuesday, saying in a video message posted to social media: “It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate.”
The Democrat made the announcement before the race was officially declared on Wednesday morning, though some projections showed him with a lead against the Republican incumbent and had already called it by the time he spoke in a live stream message to his supporters.
“Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me,” Mr Ossoff, 33, said in the video message. "At this moment of crisis … Georgia families are having difficulty putting food on the table.”
Mr Ossoff began his victory message by addressing the coronavirus pandemic, saying he wanted to “rush economic relief” to the American people.
The Associated Press has not yet declared a winner in the race between Mr Ossoff and Mr Perdue. The Independent uses AP projections for state and national elections.
But Mr Ossoff and his Democratic colleague, Reverend Raphael Warnock, have now both declared victories in their runoff races in Georgia. Mr Warnock ran against Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who attempted to label him as a “radical” candidate while campaigning alongside President Donald Trump.
If Mr Ossoff and Mr Warnock are declared the official victors in the two Georgia runoffs, it would mean historic shift in the balance of legislative power. Democrats would control the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote in the new administration, along with the White House and House of Representatives.
The Democratic-controlled Senate could bring bills previously passed in the Democratic-led House under Mr Trump to a vote on the floor, along with additional coronavirus relief measures the Democrats have sought for months throughout the pandemic.
The Democratic Party developed a massive ground game in the reliably red state, which had not previously voted to elect a Democratic president since 1992. But after the state flipped for Mr Biden, millions of voters began casting early ballots as analysts attributed the organizing efforts to local politicians like Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2016.
Ms Abrams launched the Fair Fight Action initiative after losing in the gubernatorial race in 2018, declining to concede while citing mass voter suppression. Her efforts proved successful in registering scores of new voters ahead of the 2020 elections, however, helping Mr Biden sail to victory against Mr Trump.
Appearing furious about the incoming news from Georgia, the president sent out an all-caps tweet on Wednesday morning shortly after Mr Ossoff declared victory in his race.
Mr Trump wrote: “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, OUR COUNTRY, NEEDS THE PRESIDENCY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE - THE POWER OF THE VETO. STAY STRONG!”
The president’s claims of voter fraud have been repeatedly debunked and proven frivolous by state and federal judges, and his own Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security have described the 2020 elections as the most secure in US history.
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