Jan 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Jon Ossoff wins Georgia runoff, clinching Democratic control of Senate


Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Democrat Jon Ossoff has defeated former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in Georgia's runoff race for the U.S. Senate, AP projected Wednesday.

Why it matters: The projected victory came hours after Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler and officially secures Democratic control of the Senate. The 50-50 split means that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote after Jan. 20.

Background: Ossoff drew national attention in 2017 when he nearly flipped a Georgia congressional seat against former Rep. Karen Handel (R). At 33, he is now the youngest Senator.

  • The House race drew in record fundraising and was seen as one of the first indicators of Democratic enthusiasm following President Trump's 2016 victory.

The AP call came as a mob stormed the Capitol building, halting the certification of Joe Biden's win and putting the Capitol complex into lockdown.

Between the lines: Democrats in the state may have benefited from Trump's attacks on Georgia Republicans in recent weeks.

  • Trump, who lost Georgia by over 11,000 votes, falsely claimed the state's elections were rigged and has pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to overturn the results.
  • Perdue's ability to campaign was also limited during the final days of the election. He and his wife are in quarantine due to coronavirus exposure.

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said sending $2,000 stimulus checks would be the first order of business in the new Congress once Ossoff and Warnock are sworn in.

President-elect Biden rallied for Democrats in Atlanta on Monday, focusing on the potential for more economic stimulus if Democrats take the Senate.

  • "$2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now," Biden said.
Data: AP; Chart: Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti, Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Correction: A previous version of this story said Ossoff will be the youngest senator in U.S. history. He will be the current youngest senator.

Go deeper