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U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) speaks during an election night party

Reuters

The Peach State has spoken

“The people have spoken,” US Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock said late Tuesday night as he took the stage after winning a nail-biter run-off election in Georgia. Warnock narrowly defeated his GOP rival Herschel Walker, of former NFL fame, to give Dems a 51-seat majority in the upper chamber. (Neither candidate reaped 50% of votes in the first round last month, sending the Peach State back to the polls for round two.) This result confirms that Senate Dems protected every seat they had on the ballot in last month’s midterms, as well as flipping one crucial seat in Pennsylvania. This edge means that Team Blue will now lead every Senate committee, giving them more wiggle room to confirm President Biden’s judicial picks and prevent their Senate rivals from tinkering with legislation. The defeat of Walker, backed by Donald Trump, is another big blow for the former president, whose interventions in the midterm election proved disastrous for the GOP. It also confirms that Georgia, once a deep-red state where Brian Kemp recently won reelection as governor, is now a battleground state that's up for grabs in 2024.

Georgia votes: Democratic candidate U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Georgia's runoff election, Iran’s bluff, Putin's black eye, Ramaphosa's political survival

Walker and Warnock reach the finish line

Tuesday is the day that Georgia voters, exhausted by months of this bitterly contested election, will have their final votes counted. Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock is expected to win a close race with football legend Herschel Walker. Early voting, which is expected to favor Warnock, has had a historically heavy turnout. The Democrats have already secured their Senate majority by winning 50 seats. (A 50-50 tied vote is decided by Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat.) But a 51st seat would be important for Democrats, because it ensures that no single Democrat can win concessions by threatening to block the party agenda and that Democrats have majority control within every Senate committee, speeding the approval of judges and other Biden appointees. A Warnock victory would also give former President Donald Trump yet another political blackeye in the hotly contested state of Georgia. President Joe Biden carried the state in 2020, while Democrats Warnock and Jon Ossoff were elected. Gov. Brian Kemp and particularly Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, distinguished themselves in 2020 and 2021 by refusing to support Trump’s effort to overturn his presidential loss in the Peach State.

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