Rev. Raphael Warnock Declares Victory In Georgia Runoff, Becoming First Black US Senator To Hail From The State
Warnock will be the 11th Black candidate ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
January 06, 2021 at 2:07 pm
Rev. Raphael Warnock made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first Black Senator from Georgia after defeating divisive Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in the runoff elections, according to the Associated Press.
The win will make Warnock just the 11th Black person ever elected to the U.S. Senate in America's 243 years of existence.
He will join New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker and South Carolina Republican Tim Scott as the only Black Senators in office.
Decision Desk HQ Projects @ReverendWarnock (D) has won the Georgia Special Senate Runoff Election
Race Called: 11:13PM EST 01.05.21
All Results: https://t.co/AOgwtoMxNF
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) January 6, 2021
In a speech on Tuesday night, Warnock reflected on his family's history and how intricately it is tied to Georgia's troubled past.
"I come before you tonight as a proud American and a son of Georgia. My roots are planted deeply in Georgia soil. A child who grew up in the Kayton Homes housing projects of Savannah, Georgia. Number 11 out of 12 children. A proud graduate of Morehouse College and the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis," Warnock said.
"A son of my late father, who was a pastor, a veteran, and a small businessman,” the reverend continued. “And my mother who as a teenager growing up in Waycross, Georgia, used to pick somebody else's cotton. But the other day, 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."
Watch Senator-elect Warnock’s powerful remarks: pic.twitter.com/tMWTuDFca4
— The Recount (@therecount) January 6, 2021
Warnock's win confounded experts considering the unprecedented media campaign Republicans waged against him, using outright racism and bigotry in several advertisements, according to The New York Times.
As Blavity previously reported, Loeffler went so far as to release multiple ads with Warnock's skin intentionally darkened while also outright misrepresenting his views on a variety of issues.
The other runoff race, between former Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, was also heavily focused on Warnock. Perdue largely ignored his own opponent, instead joining with Loeffler to bash Warnock at every turn, repeatedly calling him a "Marxist" and saying he was "out of touch" with Georgia.
But the negative campaign backfired, with the state's growing multicultural population bucking against the Republican establishment to send Warnock to the Senate. Dozens of activists led by Stacey Abrams, Nsé Ufot and others helped galvanize the voting population ahead of the election and turn out thousands of new voters, according to Vox.
Religious leaders came out forcefully against the negative ad campaign, demanding Loeffler stop the attacks on Warnock's religion and sermons.
"We call on you to cease and desist your false characterizations of Reverend Warnock as ‘radical’ or ‘socialist,’ when there is nothing in his background, writings or sermons that suggests those characterizations to be true, especially when taken in full context. We see your attacks against Warnock as a broader attack against the Black Church and faith traditions for which we stand,” hundreds of religious leaders wrote in a letter to Loeffler last month.
Democrats are eagerly awaiting the results of Ossoff's race because if he wins, they would have control of the Senate for the first time in years.