Democrats have won one hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Georgia on Wednesday and pulled ahead in a second, edging closer to Senate control.
Democrats, Raphael Warnock beat Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, TV networks and Edison Research projected.
With 98% reporting, Warnock was ahead of Loeffler by 1.2 percentage points, roughly 50,000 votes, while Ossoff led Perdue by more than 12,000 votes, according to Edison Research.
Democrats must win both contests to take control of the Senate. A Democratic sweep would create a 50-50 split in the Senate and give Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, the tie-breaking vote after she and Biden take office on Jan. 20.
The party already has a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
If Republicans hold the second seat, they will effectively wield veto power over Biden’s political and judicial appointees as well as many of his legislative initiatives in areas such as economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, healthcare and criminal justice.
Most of the votes remaining to be counted were in counties Biden won in November, with roughly 13,000 votes still to be counted in Democratic-leaning DeKalb County near Atlanta, according to Edison Research estimates, fueling Democratic optimism about an astounding Georgia sweep. No Democrat had won a U.S. Senate race in Georgia in 20 years.
“We were told that we couldn’t win this election. But tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible,” Warnock, a Baptist preacher, told supporters in a livestream message before he was projected the winner.
“I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election.”