Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff Win in Georgia Runoff Races as Democrats Gain Senate Majority

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images; Megan Varner/Getty Images

By beating Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Warnock became the first Black senator in his state’s history.

Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff emerged victorious in the Georgia runoff races on Wednesday, as the Democrats took the majority in the Senate.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning on the East Coast, AP projected Warnock winning his race. At 1:23 p.m. PT on Wednesday, the AP also declared that Ossoff had won his race.

Warnock's and Ossoff's wins led Hollywood stars such as Debra Messing, Josh Gad and Billy Eichner to take to social media to express their excitement over the prospective result.

The pivotal runoff elections inspired Hollywood fundraisers and phone banking events, while major television companies benefited from millions spent in political ads, because the race was set to determine whether the Senate would have a Republican or Democratic majority. The Democrats needed to win both races to take control of the Senate, with vice president Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. The composition of the Senate, in concert with the primarily Democratic House of Representatives, will determine how much legislation the Democrats can push through during the initial few years of President Joe Biden's administration.

The runoffs saw Democrat Warnock challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Ossoff race against Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue after an election year where Georgia turned blue for the first time since 1992. In 2020, president-elect Joe Biden won the state with 49.5 percent of the vote.

By beating Loeffler, Warnock will become the first Black senator in his state’s history.

None of the runoff candidates clinched over 50 percent of the vote, which Georgia law requires for a candidate to win, in the general election: Warnock secured 33 percent of the vote and Loeffler 26 percent, while Ossoff landed about 48 percent of the vote and Perdue nearly 50 percent on Nov. 3, 2020.

As of Monday, Georgia had already seen record voter turnout, with over 3 million Georgians — about 40 percent of registered voters — showing up to the polls to vote early.

Jan. 6, 3:55 a.m. The article was updated to reflect that the Ossoff-Perdue race has yet to be called by the major networks.

Jan. 6, 1:31 p.m. Updated to include AP calling Ossoff's race in his favor.