Democrats win Georgia to take control of the Senate


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Alexandra Puga, Executive Editor

The results of Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia allowed Democrats to gain back control of the Senate for the first time since 2008 thanks to historic wins for Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. 

Rev. Warnock, who served as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, defeated incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first Black senator from the state of Georgia.

33-year old Jon Ossoff, an investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker, also defeated Senator David Perdue to become the youngest senator elected since President-elect Biden in 1973. 

Democrats and Republicans are each set to hold 50 seats in the Senate, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking votes.

Voter turnout for the runoff elections was historic, with Stacy Abrams credited for leading the fight to end voter suppression within the state, increasing Black voter turnout over the last decade, as well as encouraging and educating voters. 

The early voting and mail-in voting period occurred from Dec. 14 to Jan. 1, while in-person voting in Georgia was held on Jan 5.

University junior and Georgia native Greyson Corley said, “I chose to vote on the day of the election for the runoff because I knew I’d be home and that the polling location would be following COVID-19 guidelines. I also felt like it would be better to do after the chaos that occurred surrounding absentee ballots back in November.”

Corley continued, “I went into the November election having an idea that Georgia might be important because there had been a lot of discussion about it becoming a swing state, but I didn’t think it would have the impact that it did. I honestly thought it would still end up red at the end of the day.”

“Jon Ossoff ran in a special election for a Georgia house seat in 2017 and lost. I think it just goes to show how much has changed and how much people felt was riding on both of these Senate seats,” Corley added. 

The 117th U.S. Congress is set to become the most diverse class ever voted in. The House of Representatives also holds a record number of women; 118 in total— 89 Democrats and 29 Republicans.

Other historic and diverse wins include:

  • Rep. Cori Bush became Missouri’s first Black congresswoman
  • Sarah McBride elected first transgender State Senator of Delaware— McBride will be the highest-ranking transgender official in U.S. history
  • Rep. Taylor Small became Vermont’s first openly transgender legislature
  • Three women of color will be representing New Mexico in Congress— Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Yvette Herrell (R-NM) and Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM)
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) is the first out gay Black man to serve in Congress
  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) is the first out gay Afro-Latino member of Congress
  • Oklahoma Rep. Mauree Turner is the first Muslim and nonbinary legislator
  • Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) is the first Iranian-American to serve in Congress
  • Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) and Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) are the first Korean-American women to serve in Congress
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) now holds the title of the youngest person to serve in Congress at only 25 years-old

When Congress met on Jan. 6 to certify the election results for President-elect Joe Biden, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing a lockdown for several hours. The Pace Press is currently in the process of covering this story.