Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) won reelection late Tuesday evening in Georgia’s Senate runoff—a victory that will give the Democrats a 51–49 margin in the chamber.
AP, Fox News, and CNN all called the race for Warnock around 10:30 p.m., with 94 percent of the vote counted and Warnock showing a 41,000 lead, about 1.2 percent. Then, at 12:17 a.m. Wednesday, the state reported Warnock ahead by 90,000 votes, about 2.5 percent, with over 99 percent of the vote counted.
The lead had seesawed back and forth during the evening between the two, but Warnock pulled ahead as Atlanta’s increasingly Democratic suburbs came through for him.
Walker, whose campaign gathered at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, conceded late in the night, and Warnock, whose forces met a few blocks away at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Warnock, a minister, in a rambling speech to his supporters lasting more than 20 minutes, frequently took a religious tone. “A vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and our children.”
He thanked his parents—his mother who was present and his late father—and recalled their sacrifices to raise him and his 11 brothers and sisters in Savannah.
His father, he said, had used a rig he designed to haul junk cars and preached on Sundays.
His mother, he said, “grew up in the 1950s, picking someone else’s cotton and someone else’s tobacco in Waycross, Georgia. But today, she picked her son to be a United States senator.” He recalled those who sacrificed during the civil rights movement to win voting rights for black Americans.
He advanced the voter suppression narrative that Democrats have relentlessly repeated in Georgia, despite having just won an election that, according to state officials, broke various Georgia voting records. “It doesn’t mean that voter suppression does not exist,” he said, citing the dispute over voting the Saturday after Thanksgiving.