Biden promises bipartisan leadership as Democrats clinch Senate majority

Democrats win both Senate runoff races in Georgia

Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock elbow bumps with President-elect Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Atlanta, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, as Biden campaigns for Senate candidates Warnock and Jon Ossoff. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock elbow bumps with President-elect Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Atlanta, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, as Biden campaigns for Senate candidates Warnock and Jon Ossoff. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Of the two Georgia Senate runoff races that will determine which political party has more legislative power in the years to come, Democrats have been victorious in both.

Late Tuesday night, Democrat Raphael Warnock was reported as the winner of one of Georgia’s two runoffs, becoming the state’s first Black senator ever elected. The Democratic reverend defeated Republican opponent and incumbent Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the position by Georgia’s Republican governor.

“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,” Warnock said of his mother during a public address early Wednesday. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

More: ‘Only in America’: Warnock’s rise from poverty to US senator

On Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden congratulated Warnock -- in addition to Georgia supporters, organizers and officials who helped elect the new senator -- on his historic win.

“I congratulate Reverend Warnock on his groundbreaking win last night and I am hopeful that when the count is complete, Jon Ossoff will also be victorious,” Biden said in a statement. “I congratulate the people of Georgia, who turned out in record numbers once again, just as they did in November, to elect two new Senators, demand action, and call on our elected leaders to end the gridlock and move us forward as a nation. I also congratulate the twin powers of Georgia, Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms, who have laid the difficult groundwork necessary to encourage turnout and protect the vote over these last years.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Democrat Jon Ossof was declared victorious over Republican opponent David Perdue by the Associated Press in Georgia’s other runoff Senate race -- giving Democrats the Senate majority. Now, with Democrats’ complete control of Congress, it will be more difficult for Republican lawmakers to block Biden’s ambitious progressive agenda, Cabinet picks and judicial nominations.

Though Georgia’s Senate results favor Democrats, Biden says that he will work with representatives on both sides of the aisle in an effort to unite the nation and take action to move the country forward as president.

“It looks like we will emerge from yesterday’s election with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate, and of course I’m pleased that we will be able to work with Speaker Pelosi and a Majority Leader Schumer,” Biden said. “But I’m also just as determined today as I was yesterday to try to work with people in both parties -- at the federal, state, and local levels -- to get big things done for our nation. I have long said that the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment. We need urgent action on what comes next, because the COVID-19 crisis hits red states and blue states alike.”

See: Election results: Georgia Senate runoff on Jan. 5, 2021

Read President-elect Biden’s complete statement on Warnock’s victory below.

I congratulate Reverend Warnock on his groundbreaking win last night and I am hopeful that when the count is complete, Jon Ossoff will also be victorious. I congratulate the people of Georgia, who turned out in record numbers once again, just as they did in November, to elect two new Senators, demand action, and call on our elected leaders to end the gridlock and move us forward as a nation. I also congratulate the twin powers of Georgia, Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms, who have laid the difficult groundwork necessary to encourage turnout and protect the vote over these last years. And I want to thank the local and state election officials and poll workers who yet again in a pandemic, with historic turnout, and under immense political pressure, upheld their duty to hold a free and fair election.

Georgia’s voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: they want action on the crises we face and they want it right now. On COVID-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more. They want us to move, but move together. It looks like we will emerge from yesterday’s election with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate, and of course I’m pleased that we will be able to work with Speaker Pelosi and a Majority Leader Schumer. But I’m also just as determined today as I was yesterday to try to work with people in both parties — at the federal, state, and local levels — to get big things done for our nation. I have long said that the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment. We need urgent action on what comes next, because the COVID-19 crisis hits red states and blue states alike.

And I intend to work with the next Majority and the Minority Leader to move forward with key Cabinet nominations even while the Georgia results are confirmed. My nominees for critical national security positions at State, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security have bipartisan support and have been confirmed by the Senate before. They need to be in their jobs as soon as possible after January 20th.

After the past four years, after the election, and after today’s election certification proceedings on the Hill, it’s time to turn the page. The American people demand action and they want unity. I am more optimistic than I ever have been that we can deliver both.

President-elect Joe Biden

You can watch Warnock’s victory announcement from early Wednesday morning in the video below (he begins speaking at 03:40).


Related: LIVE COVERAGE: Congress to confirm Electoral College vote for Biden


Warnock makes history with Senate win as Dems near majority (AP)

This week’s elections mark the formal finale to the turbulent 2020 election season more than two months after the rest of the nation finished voting. The unusually high stakes transformed Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the final days of Trump’s presidency — and likely beyond.

Warnock’s victory is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South. It follows Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up. Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas.

Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight.

“We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” insisted Loeffler, a 50-year-old former businesswoman who was appointed to the Senate less than a year ago by the state’s governor.

Loeffler, who remains a Georgia senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, said she would return to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory.

Georgia’s other runoff election pitted Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired on Sunday, against Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist. At just 33 years old, Ossoff would be the Senate’s youngest member.

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