- Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock won his Georgia Senate run-off race against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler last night, becoming the first black Senator in the state’s history
- Meanwhile Democrat Jon Ossof was leading Republican incumbent David Perdue by 12,806 votes early today
- All signs are pointing to a Democratic-led Senate being handed to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20
- President Donald Trump tweeted bitterly throughout the night as the dawn broke on the likelihood of a split Senate 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote
- ‘Looks like they are setting up a big “voter dump” against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?’ The president tweeted
- Georgia has become a political focal point since the November general election as the Republicans sought desperately to retain their crucial Senate majority in a traditionally red state after losing the White House
- But the state has elected its first Democrat Senator for 20 years in a stinging rebuke of the GOP candidates
- Warnock told supporters: ‘Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator’
- When Loeffler gave her remarks earlier, she refused to concede
- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said election officials would take a break overnight but resume counting on Wednesday morning. ‘Hopefully by noon we’ll have a better idea where we are,’ he said
Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock won his Georgia Senate run-off race against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler last night, becoming the first black Senator in the state’s history.
Meanwhile Democrat Jon Ossof was leading Republican incumbent David Perdue by 12,806 votes in the early hours of Wednesday, with all signs pointing to a Democratic-led Senate being handed to President-elect Joe Biden.
President Donald Trump tweeted bitterly throughout the night as the dawn broke on the likelihood of a split Senate 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
‘Looks like they are setting up a big “voter dump” against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?’ The president tweeted amid a slew of unsubstantiated voter fraud claims.
Georgia has become a political focal point since the November general election as the Republicans sought desperately to retain their crucial Senate majority in a traditionally red state after losing the White House.
But the state has elected its first Democrat Senator for 20 years in a stinging rebuke of the GOP.
Warnock told supporters: ‘Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.’
When Loeffler gave her remarks earlier, she refused to concede, while Purdue’s campaign said: ‘This is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard.’
Warnock told supporters proudly of his deep roots in Georgia and about his family members, including his mother. He also quoted scripture and Martin Luther King Jr, who once preached at his Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
‘We have a choice to make,’ he said. ‘Will we continue to play political games as people suffer?’
He said he hoped his story would be an inspiration to some young person looking for the American dream.
‘So Georgia I am honored in the faith that you have shown to me,’ Warnock said. ‘I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.’
If both Democrats are successful, 51-year-old Warnock will become the state’s first black senator, while the 33-year-old Ossoff would be Georgia’s first Jewish senator if he wins.
The critical races drew an estimated 4.5 million voters – a record for a runoff – along with nearly half a billion dollars in advertising spending since November 3 and visits on Monday by Trump and Biden.
Perdue is a former Fortune 500 executive who has served one Senate term. Loeffler, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, was appointed a year ago to fill the seat of a retiring senator.
Biden’s narrow statewide win over Trump in the general election – the first victory for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 – gave the party reason for optimism in a state dominated by Republicans for decades.
The head-to-head runoff elections in Georgia, a quirk of state law, became necessary when no candidate in either race drew more than 50 percent of the vote in November’s general election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said election officials would take a break overnight but resume counting on Wednesday morning. ‘Hopefully by noon we’ll have a better idea where we are,’ he said.
Late reporting from DeKalb County put the Democrats in a more formidable position.
Trump predicted that – tweeting around 10.30pm that their wins would be products of more voter fraud.
‘Looks like they are setting up a big ‘voter dump’ against the Republican candidates,’ Trump wrote. ‘Waiting to see how many votes they need?’ the president tweeted.
Later on he continued: ‘Just happened to have found another 4000 ballots from Fulton County. Here we go!’
The president has since been retweeting baseless theories from right-wing commentator Tomi Lahren who claimed, ‘The steal is in the making in Georgia. Wait for it,’ and ‘Democrats scrounging up votes from mystical places again.’ Democrat Raphael Warnock claimed victory in Tuesday’s Senate run-off race early Wednesday morning over Republican Sen. Kelly LoefflerLoeffler spoke to supporters in Atlanta and refused to concede. She attacked Warnock for ‘moving the country toward socialism’Stacey Abrams tweeted her congratulations to Rev. Raphael Warnock before the race was called for him by the networks
Before Trump’s tweets, the Drudge Report and other secondary outlets called the race for Warnock. The New York Times said it was ‘very likely’ Warnock and ‘pretty likely’ for Ossoff. By midnight, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman predicted both Democrats would win.
Former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader and failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams tweeted her congratulations to Warnock before his win was called by the networks.
Abrams’ get out the vote efforts are largely credited for the state going to Biden in the November 3 election.
‘Congratulations to our next U.S. Senator, @ReverendWarnock. Last January, I endorsed my dear friend in his quest to serve. Soon, he will walk those august halls & cast votes as a leader with courage, justice and integrity. God bless you and keep you in your service to us all,’ Abrams wrote.
At an election night party in Atlanta, Loeffler attacked Warnock saying he was moving the country toward socialism, even as he cut ads to reach out to suburban voters and called for unity.
‘It was very obvious my opponent campaigned on a platform of high taxes, socialism, government control of our health care,’ she said. ‘Stopping our school choice for our children. My campaign’s about saving our country. Fighting for the American dream. You know? That’s right,’ she said to a smattering of cheers.
She vowed to fight on, and suggested she would stick to her declaration Monday that she would back election challenges on behalf of Trump.
‘So you know it’s worth it for this election to last into tomorrow,’ she continued. ‘We’re going to make sure every vote is counted. That’s right. Every legal vote will be counted. And I’m not going to stop working.’
U.S. equity market index futures were broadly weaker as the results turned in favor of the Democrats, signaling stocks could open on the soft side on Wednesday morning.
The benchmark S&P 500 e-mini futures contract was down 0.6%, while futures tracking the tech-heavy Nasdaq were off by 1.3%.
The campaign’s final days were overshadowed by Trump’s efforts to subvert the presidential election results.
On Saturday, Trump pressured Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, on a phone call to ‘find’ enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory, falsely claiming massive fraud.
Trump’s bid to undo his loss – with some Republicans planning to object to the certification of Biden’s win when Congress meets on Wednesday to formally count the presidential vote – have split his party and drawn condemnation from critics who accuse him of undermining democracy.
At a rally in Georgia on Monday night, Trump again declared the November vote ‘rigged,’ an assertion some Republicans worried would dissuade his supporters from voting on Tuesday.
His attacks appear to have undermined public confidence in the electoral system. Edison’s exit poll found more than seven in 10 were very or somewhat confident their votes would be counted accurately, down from 85% who said the same in a Nov. 3 exit poll. As the Democratic Senate hopefuls looked poised to jump ahead, President Donald Trump again alleged fraud, suggesting that there would be a ‘voter dump’ against the GOP candidates, which is why Dekalb County was taking so long to reportPresident Donald Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising tweet on behalf of the president around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night as returns were coming in, repeating his unfounded claims of voter fraudFulton County, Georgia election workers process absentee ballots Tuesday in the nail-biter raceGeorgia Republicans await election results on Tuesday night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, GeorgiaGeoriga Gov. Brian Kemp addresses an audience of Republican supporters of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Tuesday night in Georgia. President Donald Trump turned on Kemp after losing Georgia in the November general election
Warnock is a reverend and the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where MLK once preached.
Ossoff was watching the results with his election team while his wife, an OBGYN was working the overnight shift, receiving updates from her patients, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
His campaign put out a statement once he overtook Perdue in votes, predicting he’d be successful.
‘When the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate. We look forward to seeing the process through in the coming hours and moving ahead so Jon can start fighting for all Georgians in the U.S. Senate,’ the statement read.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump was already claiming voter fraud, floating a theory that Dominion voting machines were malfunctioning.
And as midnight neared, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted out a conspiracy theory that Democrats were up to something in Chatham County, where the stronghold of Savannah is.
‘Why are they stopping the vote count in Democrat Chatham county, Georgia?’ McEnany wrote. ‘This sounds familiar!’
Earlier Tuesday Trump posted to his Twitter, ‘Reports are coming out of the 12th Congressional District of Georgia that Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds for over an hour.’
‘Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them. Thank you Congressman @RickAllen!’ he continued, directing his gratitude to Georgia’s 12th district Rep. Rick Allen.
As returns were coming in Tuesday night, Trump sent out a fundraising text to supporters trying to raise money off the allegations.
‘Pres Trump: Is it true that voting machines ‘stopped working’ earlier in Georgia today? Are Dems trying to STEAL this Election? FIGHT BACK! Act,’ the text said, linking to page asking for donations.
The claim from Trump of voter fraud appears to have come from Perdue, who is running for reelection in the runoff, and John Fredericks, who appeared on former Trump White House strategist Steven Bannon’s podcast Tuesday.
‘We’ve got another problem with Dominion machines,’ Fredericks told Bannon on his podcast War Room. ‘I know this is going to shock your viewers today. But Dominion machines in several – get this, not one or two – I heard, three of the largest Republican precincts at 10:00 a.m. are down.’
‘People have been told that they cannot scan their ballots… because the machines don’t work,’ he continued. ‘In the meantime, they have to make their ballot out and put it in an envelope and the pole workers are saying ‘When it’s fixed we’ll scan it for you.’
‘So there’s all kinds of red flags right there,’ Fredericks said. ‘Of course, these are happening in Republican areas. You can extrapolate that, it could be happenstance.’
Also on Tuesday, Perdue told the Todd Starnes Show there were voting ‘anomalies’ involving Dominion machines in three different counties in Georgia.
The president’s tweet about the claims of irregularities and malfunctions comes as reports emerge of small lines at polling places and low in-person Election Day turnout – a bad sign for Republican incumbents Loeffler and Perdue.
Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff and now is financial chair of the Georgia Battleground Fund, said in a private conference call Monday that the two campaigns’ models show at least 1 million Georgians need to show up on Election Day for Republicans to win. Lines in Georgia have been much shorter than expected all day Tuesday as voters turn out on Election Day to cast their ballots in the two Senate runoff electionsRepublican incumbent Senator Kelly LoefflerGeorgia Senate candidate Reverend Raphael Warnock (D)Immediately after news of smaller-than-expected Election Day turnout emerged, Trump sent an inevitable claim via tweet that Dominion voting machines were malfunctioning ¿ the same claim he uses to assert he actually won Georgia in the presidential contest in NovemberRepublican Georgia Senator David Perdue ¿ who is running for reelection ¿ is still quarantining after being diagnosed with coroanvirus. His Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff (pictured) visited Dunbar Neighborhood Center on Election Day in Acworth, GeorgiaVoters started lining up at the crack of dawn to cast their ballots in the two consequential runoff races. The lines, however, are quite short, with some claiming it took them a total of 5 minutes between showing up and leaving their polling places
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urged Democrats to start turning out more on Tuesday, as well – despite a larger Election Day turnout usually favoring Republicans.
‘I know @ReverendWarnock and @Ossoff,’ the California senator said of the two Democratic candidates. ‘We’ve talked about the promise of our country. How we must help Americans with $2,000 stimulus checks, ensure our children have clean air to breathe, and our small businesses can thrive. That’s who they are—and who they’ll be as U.S. Senators.’
On the other hand, Donald Trump Jr. was pushing for more Republicans to turn out.
‘Get out and vote Georgia you have 2 1/2 hours to get in line to save America as you know it from the communists,’ the president’s eldest son and one of his closest campaign advisers said. ‘She’s worth fighting for!’
All eyes turned to the Peach State on Tuesday as thousands across Georgia headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the two consequential runoff races that will decide Senate control.
Voters began lining up in the Peach State at the crack of dawn Tuesday and polls closed at 7 p.m. – setting up Washington for a day of speculation and nail biting as the two races will not only determine which party controls the Senate, but also the trajectory of Joe Biden’s presidency.Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urged Democrats in Georgia to start turning out more on Tuesday ¿ despite a larger Election Day turnout usually favoring RepublicansDonald Trump Jr., the president eldest son and closest campaign adviser, was also pushing for Republicans to turn out with just a few hours left to cast their votes
Lines were as bad as expected – leading to speculation that Warnock and Ossoff could both emerge victorious.
‘I am hearing of virtually no lines across the state,’ Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Tuesday.
Abrams tweeted Tuesday that voters are getting in and out of polling places in minutes thanks to early voting.
‘MSNBC is reporting that voters at many Atlanta Metro polling places are in and out in 5 minutes today because so many Georgians voted early!’ Abrams posted. ‘So if you haven’t voted, get out and vote by 7PM today. I’m counting on you.’
This is nothing compared to the very long lines seen for in-person early voting in Georgia this year – or those lines experienced in the pre-pandemic era in the 2018 runoff.
Similar issues that delayed results of the presidential election in Georgia could unfold after Tuesday’s runoff contests if the race turnouts are as close as they are expected to be. Voters in Georgia started casting their ballots Tuesday morning in the two runoff elections in the state, which will determine which party controls the SenateGeorgians began arriving to vote before polling places even opened. Here a line forms at Cobb County Community Center in Atlanta, GeorgiaHundreds of thousands of Georgians are expected to vote on Tuesday before the polls close at 7:00 p.m. ¿ after a record-shattering 3 million already voted in the runoff elections early by mail or in-personRepublicans expect to win both Senate races. But there are concerns the GOP senators will only win if at least 1 million more voters show up on Election Day to the 3 million who voted earlyMasked-up and Socially Distanced: Georgia voters stood feet away from each other and donned face masks as they waited outside to be let into their respective polling places to voteTrump pleaded with Georgians to vote for Loeffler and Perdue in a tweet Tuesday morning: ‘So important to do so!’ he urgedVolunteers at a voting center in Austell, Georgia hand out food and drinks to voters lined up waiting to cast their ballotsThe southern state swung blue for Joe Biden by less than 12,000 votes on November 3, neither Senate race was decided because no candidate earned the 50 per cent needed to avoid a runoffGeorgia voters alone will decided the fate of the Senate in the two runoffsA sign outside a voting center reminds candidates and their surrogates, as well as anyone else, that campaigning within 150 feet of a polling place is prohibited by law
With around 5.5 million registered voters in Georgia, more than half of those who can vote have already done so before runoff election day on Tuesday.
Data from Georgia Secretary of State’s office indicates much more people showed up to vote early in person rather than absentee by mail – even in the midst of the pandemic.
Walter Jones, a spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the highest ranking Georgia election official, said: ‘We may be looking at several days’ before results are known.
He claimed the delay would most likely come from mail ballots received on Tuesday.
Election officials are not able to start counting ballots until 7 p.m. on Tuesday – after the polling places close.
Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots will continue flooding in throughout the day Tuesday, and that, combined with tabulating in-person voting could delay the counting process.
Slow counting held up the results of the presidential election results in Georgia, with Trump holding a solid lead before mail-in ballots received on November 3 were fully processed and counted in the days after.
Biden won by less than 12,000 votes in the days after Election Day – and the minuscule margin of victory led to two separate recounts in the Peach State, further delaying the final results.
Historically, Democrats do better in mail-in and early voting and Republicans perform better on Election Day.
Trump, while pushing for Loeffler and Perdue’s reelections, also used his Monday night rally in Dalton County, Georgia to complain of his claimed widespread voter fraud and push his repeated – and largely unproven – allegations that the presidency was ‘stolen’ by Democrats.President Donald Trump held a rally Monday night in Dalton County, Georgia for Republican incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler (pictured) and David PerduePerdue joined the rally remotely to address the crowd at one point. He is still quarantining at his home after contracting coroanvirusEarlier in the day, President-elect Joe Biden held an event campaigning for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff (left) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (center)
Loeffler told Fox News on Monday night that she would join a dozen other Republican senators in a plot to challenge at least one state’s Electoral College results when Congress moves to certify the election for Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Trump announced on his Twitter Tuesday morning that Perdue was also joining the effort to challenge the results.
‘Pleased to announce that @KLoeffler & @sendavidperdue have just joined our great #StopTheSteal group of Senators,’ the president posted. ‘They will fight the ridiculous Electoral College Certification of Biden. How do you certify numbers that have now proven to be wrong and, in many cases, fraudulent!’
A group of House Republicans, led by Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, started pushing the plan last month and have gained a lot of traction since then after the group of senators joined the effort.
Loeffler attended the rally Monday night, but Perdue is still quarantining after being in contact with a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.
He joined the rally by video for a short time to address the crowd gathered on the tarmac for one of Trump’s last rallies of his presidency.Trump lauded Loeffler and Perdue on Tuesday for joining a GOP effort in the Senate to challenge the Electoral College results in the joint session certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6
During the rally, Trump demanded that Vice President Mike Pence ‘come through’ as he presides over Congress certifying the election on January 6 and Republicans carry out their plan to challenge the results.
‘I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. He’s a great guy,’ Trump told an audience Monday night. ‘Of course if he doesn’t come through I won’t like him quite as much.’
While the president’s biggest Capitol Hill allies challenge some of the states’ Electoral College counts, which could elongate the Congressional session for hours or even days, Pence will just announce the results.
Even though there is little to nothing Pence can do to change the outcome, Trump is suggesting he has the power to do so.
Thousands of the president’s most staunch supporters are descending on Washington D.C. on Wednesday to protest the election results, demanding Democrats ‘stop the steal’ and Trump be declared the true winner.
The GOP has been tearing itself apart from the inside out in the midst of the Georgia runoff as Republicans pick sides on standing with the president on his claims of widespread voter fraud or not.
Specifically, Georgia Republicans are publicly split on the matter.
In a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, Trump pressured him to find 11,780 votes for him in the Peach State to overturn Biden’s win there.
Audio of the call was leaked – by Raffensperger himself – on Sunday, and revealed a desperate Trump who, at times, begged, flattered and threatened the Georgia official, who is a Republican.
Trump has also attacked Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp for not doing enough to try and overturn the results after the state went blue in the presidential elections.
Kemp appeared at an election night party with Republican supporters of the two Senate candidates Tuesday in Atlanta.
Loeffler and Perdue, however, have stayed on the president’s side – not wanting to upset him and his supporters before their runoff elections.
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