Democrats take control of US Senate

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Reverend Raphael Warnock is poised to enter the US Senate as Georgia's first Black Senator. (Image: Twitter)

Win for Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff in crucial Georgia runoff.

SHASHIDHAR NANJUNDAIAH

Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock won one US Senate seat in Georgia after he garnered nearly 2.258 million votes, against 2.184 million votes for the incumbent, Republican Kelly Loeffler. In the second runoff seat. Jon Ossoff was declared winner after he beat Republican incumbent David Perdue 2.239 million to 2.203 million votes. In both cases, 98% votes have been counted and there are still votes to be counted. However, the trend is not expected to turn in either case.

Warnock will be Georgia’s first Black senator. The pastor and voting rights activist defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.

The Georgia runoff now marks an even split in the US Senate. The Senate now has 48 Democrats and two Independents stacked against 50 Republicans. The tie-breaker will then lie in the hands of Democrat and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

A record 4.4 million people voted in the runoffs, breaking previous records.

A Senate majority is exactly what President-elect Joe Biden and the Democrats had hoped for, because it held the key to how much the incoming administration can pursue its agendas of the environment, immigration, healthcare, education, and jobs.

But more so, the urgent need for the administration to steer the pandemic in a different direction from its current course puts the Biden administration particularly anxious to swing the Georgia votes in their favor.

A related and unresolved issue is the possibility of an increase in Covid-19 stimulus amount to affected families from $600 to $2,000. The amount is still $600, but that could change if Georgia can turn the equation in the Senate.

Warnock thanked his supporters in what sounded like a victory speech. “Georgia, I’m honored by the faith you have showed in me,” he said in a televised speech. “I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia. No matter who you cast your vote for in this election, everyday I’m in the United States Senate, I will fight for you.”

Late Wednesday evening, after an unprecedented riot stormed the Capitol building, she said on the Senate floor that in the wake of that incident, she would “not object” to the result.

Watch Warnock’s address, released wee hours on Wednesday, here:

The second Georgia Senate run-off between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff remained too

close to call for long before he won by more than 16,000 votes, more than the lead the Democrats bagged in the US presidential election in the state.

Around 8:00 Wednesday, Ossoff also recorded a thank-you speech that sounded like a victory speech. Although Twitter marked it as disputed, the speech was validated by his win declared several hours later. Here’s a link:

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has joined in the chorus of congratulating the Democratic candidates in Georgia.

The Democratic wins are somewhat dramatic considering that they were up against a majority of Republican incumbents. Of the 35 senators up for reelection, 23 were Republicans, while only 12 were Democrats. Republicans had to defend 10 seats in races considered competitive, while Democrats had to defend only two.

A number of Indian Americans came out in support of the two Democratic contenders in the runoff race. (Image: Twitter)

Electoral vote count ongoing
It appears that the violence that resulted in mobs storming the Capitol may have changed several minds. Earlier estimates showed more than 150 dissenting voices planned to say “yea” to objections about the electoral votes in several states.

But ongoing trends show that those objections are being rejected, state after state. Senate overwhelmingly rejected the objection to the Electoral College votes from Arizona, made by Gosar and Cruz, in a 6-93 vote.

At 10:42 pm, when voting ended, the House of Representatives vote returned the same result, albeit less emphatically (110-266, with 112 Republicans voting “yea” and 72 “nay” to the objection) rejecting the objection to a fair election in Arizona.

President Trump has not conceded defeat in the presidential election, either. A large proportion, over 150, of Republicans do not support the claim and plan to challenge the vote count, but many do. An electoral vote count is due in Congress today, confirming whether or not Joe Biden won the presidential election in November.

At 209 as against 222 Democrats, Republicans do not have majority in the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) somewhat narrowly won another term as Speaker of the House.

On the streets of Washington, DC, tens of thousands of Trump supporters, including far-right groups like the Proud Boys, gathered to back the President’s claims that the election was rigged. Trump later addressed a large rally at the White House shortly before the Congress votes. The mobs stormed the building. Order was restored later and proceedings are ongoing.

In an earlier address, Trump egged his supporters on: “They will fight the ridiculous Electoral College certification of Biden. How do you certify numbers that have now proven to be wrong and, in many cases fraudulent!”

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