On Tuesday, Georgia held its runoff elections for the Senate, and on Wednesday AP News officially called both races, with both democratic candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, winning in close margins.
These wins are historic, with Warnock being the first Black senator from Georgia and Ossoff being the first Jewish senator from the state. Ossoff himself credits “record-shattering youth turnout, a lot of whom are voting for the first time”, according to his social media.
The state also saw massive turnout among Black Georgians. Black people make up about 30 percent of the overall electorate in the state, and they represent a majority of Georgia’s Democratic voters.
Both victories represent major breakthroughs for Black communities in southern politics, as his election is the “culmination of years of voter registration drives conducted by former state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, and many other Black activists,” who have worked to elimate the historic disenfranchisement of Black Americans.
Early in the day yesterday Warnock delivered an emotional speech, vowing to work for all Georgians, whether they voted for him or not.
“The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work, and the people by our side, anything is possible.”
In Ossoff’s victory speech, he made a similar vow: “This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state– for all the people of this state. Whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.”
Sources: AP News 1/6/21; New York Times 1/7/21; New York Times 1/6/21; TikTok 1/5/21