SEVERE WX : Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Democrats to take Senate as Ossoff wins runoff, CNN projects

Democrats will take control of the US Senate as Jon Ossoff wins the Georgia runoff against GOP Sen. David Perdue, CNN projects.

Posted: Jan 6, 2021 6:39 PM


Georgians elected Jon Ossoff to the US Senate, CNN projected Wednesday, giving the Democratic Party control of Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade and delivering a stark repudiation of President Donald Trump as he tried to overturn his own loss.

Ossoff's victory and that of fellow Georgia Democrat the Rev. Raphael Warnock flip the Senate, giving President-elect Joe Biden the power to potentially enact sweeping, liberal legislation and push through Cabinet nominations without Republican support. The Senate's party split will be 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking tie votes.

LIVE UPDATES: Georgia Senate runoff election

Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and Ossoff will respectively be the first Black and Jewish senators to represent Georgia.

"At this moment of crisis, as Covid-19 continues to ravage our state and our country, when hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, millions have lost livelihoods, Georgia families are having difficulty putting food on the table -- fearing foreclosure or eviction, having difficulty making ends meet -- let's unite now to beat this virus and rush economic relief to the people of our state and to the American people," Ossoff said earlier Wednesday ahead of CNN's projection.

After no Georgia US Senate candidate received 50% of the vote in November, the races turned to two runoffs with control of the Senate at stake. While Ossoff and Warnock ran on a unity ticket, Trump refused to concede his own loss, sparking a fight within the Republican Party and disenchanting some of his supporters, who believed his false claims that the vote was rigged.

Trump's ongoing onslaught against the Republican officials in charge of the elections pressured the two GOP senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, to make a choice: Join the President in seeking to overturn the democratic outcome or risk losing Trump supporters.

Despite three recounts and no evidence of widespread fraud, Loeffler and Perdue decided to join the President in supporting an objection to Congress' certification of the Electoral College's results on Wednesday in a final, deluded display of devotion to Trump supporters.

"I'm obviously disappointed," said Eric Tanenblatt, a longtime Georgia Republican strategist. "Clearly the distractions and sideshows impacted the outcome."

Progressives are already looking at how Democrats should use their newfound power, advocating for the Senate to "go nuclear" and eliminate the filibuster, which requires that most legislation obtain 60 votes to advance, in order to pass a more ambitious agenda. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York dodged a question on Wednesday on whether his caucus will lower the threshold to a simple majority vote, saying it is united in wanting "big, bold change" and would "discuss the best ways to get that done."

He said that "one of the first" bills he'd like to pass as Senate majority leader would provide $2,000 stimulus checks to help Americans suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, recently blocked despite President Donald Trump's support for enhanced aid. Democratic senators, who have been in the minority for six years, are now evaluating how to wield their gavels across various committees to address the health and economic crises.

"Georgia's voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: they want action on the crises we face and they want it right now," said Biden in a statement. "On Covid-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more."

Schumer will have a minuscule margin for error balancing the priorities of the left and the politically vulnerable.

Democrats acknowledged the intraparty fight to come. Maine independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN that he is "very reluctant" to eliminate the filibuster but looks forward to changing the rules to disincentivize its "abuse."

Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a moderate who faces a 2024 election in his red state, said on Wednesday that he hoped the filibuster would remain to encourage bipartisanship.

"Bipartisan legislation tends to stand the test of time," said Tester.

But the left wants Schumer to get rid of it so that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and the Senate can pass their long-awaited wish list. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted on Wednesday that "the movement" to end cash bail, abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and support Black lives "organized to deliver" Congress and the White House. "It's time we deliver for them," she said.

A Democratic-led Senate could also confirm Biden's nominees without Republican support, allowing the new administration to go bolder in its Cabinet picks and begin to overhaul the conservatives' massive gains on the judicial bench over the past four years.

Biden plans to pick federal Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general, creating a vacancy on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. If McConnell were in charge of the Senate, the Biden administration might've gone with someone like former Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones to avoid the Kentucky Republican's influence over that critical judicial vacancy.

"Obviously, with Democratic control [of the Senate], the ability of Joe Biden to move nominations forward will be easier," said Schumer.

Perdue and Loeffler entered the Senate runoffs with some advantages. Loeffler, one of the richest members of Congress, spent tens of millions on her race, while Perdue, a first-term senator and former Fortune 500 CEO, has earned over 88,000 more votes than the 33-year-old Ossoff two months ago.

Warnock and Ossoff campaigned on ending the coronavirus crisis, which has infected more than 20.8 million Americans and killed at least 354,000, in order to reopen the economy. They pushed for debt-free public college and a new Voting Rights Act. And they attacked the Republican senators for their multimillion-dollar stock transactions during the pandemic, alleging that they profited off it. The senators have denied any wrongdoing.

But Loeffler's and Perdue's campaigns were quickly subsumed by Trump's attacks on the Democratic outcome. Trump recently appeared to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on a private call, urging him to "find" enough votes to reverse his loss in Georgia, a state that every GOP presidential candidate had won since 1996. Raffensperger, a Republican, refused.

Perdue and Loeffler attempted to sidestep the intraparty fight by focusing their remarks on their Democratic opponents.

Perdue's closing message was littered with attacks, saying in a minute-long video that if Republicans lose, undocumented immigrants will vote, Americans' private health insurance will be "taken away," and Democrats will pack the Supreme Court and defund the police.

"We win Georgia, we save America," said Perdue to the camera.

But Warnock and Ossoff countered that they would "demilitarize" rather than defund the police, create a legal pathway for undocumented immigrants and support a public option to decrease the number of uninsured. Neither Democratic candidate has advocated adding justices to the court.

"Kelly Loeffler spends tens of millions of dollars to scare you," said Warnock in an ad. "She's trying to make you afraid of me because she's afraid of you. Afraid that you understand how she's used her position in the Senate to enrich herself and others like her. Afraid that you'll realize that we can do better."

Now, Democrats will confront the question of how far they will go following the Trump administration. They spent Wednesday celebrating their quick reversal of fortune after being so long out of power.

"I think we're going to do big things," said Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. "I think that the overwhelming number of Democrats are pointing in the same direction on all of this. Some faster than others, but all in the same direction."

This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Mostly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Strong to severe storms move through Sunday evening to early Monday morning. Showers and a few storms are likely on Monday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events