Georgia: Democrats Take the Senate

By MIKE LEE

The change is now complete—and refreshing.

In two hotly contested runoff elections in Georgia, Democratic Party candidates, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won their respective races for the United States Senate.

Both elections were won by razor-thin margins, but with these stunning victories, the Democrats have wrested control of the U.S. Senate from the hands of Republican Kentucky Senator and soon former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

This completes a long struggle by a coalition of progressive forces to take the country to a new and labor-oriented direction, first by winning the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, key state wins, such as Virginia in 2019 and the sweeping victory by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris last Nov. 3.

The Biden-Harris ticket won decisively with more than 80 million votes, the most a Presidential campaign in American history.

By winning the state of Georgia in that election, it set the stage for the final act, as both GOP candidates failed to reach a majority. 

Just as in the run up to the November election, union members and activists, led by Political Action Director Jeremy John, joined other affiliates of the American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), DC 37’s national union, calling union households in the state to get out the vote in support of Warnock and Ossoff. 

The union’s efforts paid off in both victories.

By winning both seats, the U.S. Senate is now tied, which, after Biden and Harris are inaugurated on Jan. 20, gives Vice President Kamala Harris, as the presiding officer of the upper chamber the deciding vote on legislation.

Now with control of Congress and the Presidency, there is a mandate to pass legislation to fully address the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering need aid to communities and frontline workers who suffered during the pandemic, rebuild the economy and move forward on important and bold agenda items vital to labor. Items such as worker protections, a Green New Deal, civil rights, help for New Americans and an equitable tax policy are now on the agenda once the Biden Administration is in place.

In defeating incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler, Senator-elect Raphael Warnock, a pastor, is the first Black Democrat in the South to win a U.S. Senate seat.

Senator-elect Joe Ossoff, defeated the incumbent Senator David Perdue. At age 33, he will serve as the youngest Democrat elected to the Senate since Joe Biden won his Senate seat in 1972.

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