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Georgia Senate election results: Jon Ossoff declared runoff winner as ‘militia gathers’ at state Capitol

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Related video: Georgia election official debunks one Trump conspiracy theory after another

Democrats took control of the Senate after Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler by razor-thin margins.

The victories were overshadowed by riots in Washington DC as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an effort to stop the count of the Electoral College votes declaring Joe Biden as president elect.

The chaos spread to Georgia as governor Brian Kemp and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger were reportedly evacuated after a 'militia' gathered outside the state Capitol.

Mr Ossoff, 33, becomes the youngest man to enter the Senate since president-elect Joe Biden did so himself in 1973 while Reverend Warnock becomes the state’s first black senator and only the second black senator elected to represent a former Confederate state.

Their wins mean that both parties have 50 senators each, leaving the deciding vote in legislative matters with vice president-elect Kamala Harris and seeing Mitch McConnell deposed as majority leader.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of Tuesday’s crucial Georgia runoff elections, which could shift the balance of power in the US Senate from a Republican to a Democratic majority.

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 09:35
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Biden says blue wins would enable $2,000 bailout cheques

The southern state of Georgia goes to the polls on Tuesday to vote in two crucial runoff elections that could shift the balance of power in the US Senate from a Republican to a Democratic majority, as GOP incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue take on challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

President-elect Joe Biden was campaigning for Reverend Warnock and Ossoff in Atlanta on Monday evening, promising voters that their victories would mean a blue takeover of the Senate and thus the chance to upgrade Covid relief cheques for American citizens from the current $600 a month to $2,000, a move staunchly opposed by current majority leader Mitch McConnell.

“If you send Jon and the reverend to Washington, those $2,000 cheques will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honour for so many people who are struggling right now,” Biden said. 

“If you send Senators Perdue and Loeffler back to Washington, those cheques will never get there. It’s just that simple.”

The president-elect also said electing Ossoff and Warnock would mean an end to “the gridlock that has gripped Washington and this nation” under Grim Reaper McConnell’s sway.

“With their votes in the Senate, we’ll be able to make the progress we need to make on jobs, on health care, on justice on the environment, on so many important things,” he added.

The man due to become the 46th president of the United States on 20 January was at pains to underline the significance of the day, declaring: “Folks, this is it. This is it. It’s a new year, and tomorrow can be a new day for Atlanta, for Georgia and for America. Unlike any time in my career, one state - one state - can chart the course, not just for the four years but for the next generation”.

Of Warnock and Ossoff’s opposition, who have fought hard to smear the progressive values of their challengers, Biden was appropriately scathing: “You have two senators who think they’ve sworn an oath to Donald Trump, not the United States Constitution.”

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 09:45
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Biden says Trump spends most of his time ‘whining and complaining’ and asks why he even wants to be president

The president was as vitriolic about his bested election rival as he was about Loeffler and Perdue.

Here’s John T Bennett on his withering words for Trump.

Biden says Trump spends most of his time ‘whining and complaining’

‘We won three times here. Each recount,’ president-elect says, mocking the outgoing one

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 10:05
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Trump rallies base and pressures Pence

The outgoing president was also attempting to drum up support for Loeffler and Perdue in the Peach State last night but largely used the opportunity to protest his own defeat in November’s general election.

“There’s no way we lost Georgia,” he huffed.

Trump continued to push his still entirely unproven election fraud narrative, claiming to have won by “a landslide” only to fall foul of “communist” Democrats “playing games”, and even pressured his own deputy, vice president Mike Pence, over his role in certifying the outcome before Congress on Wednesday.

“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. I hope our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him very much,” the president told the crowd in Dalton, less than 48 hours before the House and Senate come together to count the electoral votes and hear challenges from GOP lawmakers. 

In full campaign mode, Trump called Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock “radical,” saying the former is “not a senator” and opposes law enforcement. “That’s why you must vote, and get out tomorrow and vote for David Perdue,” he said. 

Absurdly, the president called Warnock, a black Baptist pastor, “the most radical and dangerous left-wing candidate to ever seek this office,” telling the mostly white crowd “he does not support your values” - a dog whistle if ever there was one.

John T Bennett has more.

Trump presses Pence to ‘come through’ and overturn Electoral College results at Georgia rally

President repeats same unproven allegations of widespread fraud as in controversial call with senior Georgia elections officials 

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 10:25
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President vows to return to campaign against Georgia GOP governor Brian Kemp

Trump also called out Utah’s Republican senator Mike Lee - in attendance - last night for refusing to support his bogus challenge to the election results, brought new-minted QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to the stage to decry abortion rights and announced that he would return to throw his weight behind a challenger to Brian Kemp in the state’s next gubernatorial race as punishment for his refusal to join the nonsense election fightback.

Alex Woodward has this one.

Trump pledges to campaign against Georgia’s gop governor as state election officials condemn fraud claims

His rally on the eve of the runoff election follows the release a recording of an hour-long phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State

 

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 10:45
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Georgia election official trashes president’s conspiracies ahead of vote

State official Gabriel Sterling, an admirably exasperated Republican, gave a mammoth press conference on Monday at which he dispatched, one by one, the president’s spate of conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election in his jurisdiction.

Sterling’s rollercoaster remarks came just a day after The Washington Post published an audio recording of Trump’s hour-long tirade against Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, demanding that he “find” enough votes to swing the state for him.

Sterling defended Georgia’s election procedures from attacks by the president and his legal team and dismantled their theories at a breathtaking pace.

“Secretary Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron Raffensperger. That is also not real. The president tweeted that out as well. Let's see... such a long list,” he began, going on to say he has “intentionally misled voters” and to rubbish the idea of voting machines “flipping” ballots, doing so in forensic detail.

Griffin Connolly picks up the thread.

Georgia election official eviscerates Trump election lies one by one

Rollercoaster press conference comes just one day before Georgia voters determine partisan control of the Senate

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 11:05
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Kelly Loeffler says she will object to the certification of Biden’s Electoral College win

The Republican candidate - the wealthiest senator in Washington, who was accused of “campaigning with a Klansman” last week by Jon Ossoff - was working hard yesterday to keep Trump on side by tweeting extracts from his speech and announcing that she would be joining the credibility-ending GOP challenge to the presidential election results in Congress tomorrow.

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 11:25
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Warnock on Loeffler: ‘She has no case to make’

The Republican’s campaign against Reverend Warnock has been overwhelmingly negative throughout the contest and has followed much the same line of argument as Trump’s last night, taking a personal tack whenever possible, calling him a “radical” (is that always a bad thing?) and accusing him of everything from not paying his taxes to plotting to defund the police, hoping to scare wavering moderate voters to the right.

Addressing the personal attacks he has been subjected to, Warnock said yesterday: “Have you noticed she hasn’t even bothered to make a case, Georgia, for why you should keep her in that seat? That’s because she has no case to make.”

Compare her approach above to the optimistic message of consolation he offers below.

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 11:45
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Perdue calls Raffensperger ‘disgusting’ for releasing Trump call

Reactions to Trump’s aforementioned call with Brad Raffensperger have been mixed, it’s fair to say.

The president remains under fire for his weekend exchange urging Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” additional ballots to overturn the result in the Peach State, with Democrats calling for impeachment or an FBI investigation, House Republicans leaping to his defence and retiring GOP senator Pat Toomey branding the leaked conversation “a new low in this whole futile and sorry episode”.

One man with a different point of view though is David Perdue, one of today’s Republican contenders, who doesn’t mind the appeal to overthrow democracy so much, just the fact that it was leaked!

“I guess I was raised differently,” Perdue told Steve Hilton on Fox News yesterday.

“To have a statewide elected official, regardless of party, tape without disclosing a conversation - a private conversation - with the president of the United States, and then leaking it to the press, is disgusting.”

Here’s Griffin Connolly on the possibility of the FBI picking up the matter.

Democrats ask FBI for ‘immediate criminal investigation’ into Trump phone call

President ‘engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,’ Democrats allege

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 12:05
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Mike Pence heckled at Georgia rally to challenge election result on 6 January

The vice president was shouted at to “Do the right thing” and help overturn the election while campaigning for Loeffler and Perdue yesterday.

"You know, I know we've all got our doubts about the last election. And I want to assure you, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities," Pence said, ominously.

Justin Vallejo has this report.

Mike Pence heckled at Georgia rally to ‘do the right thing’

'I know we've all got our doubts about the last election’

Joe Sommerlad5 January 2021 12:25

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