Republicans are blaming Donald Trump as it appears Democrats will take the Senate – and a Georgia election official claims there are 'mystical places'
Republicans are blaming Donald Trump as it appears Democrats will take the Senate – and a Georgia election official claims there are ‘mystical places’ in the president’s mind where he finds his allegations voter fraud.
Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for the office of the Georgia Secretary of State, told CNN Wednesday morning: ‘The mystical places are in the depths of the president’s mind. These ballots we found have been there, they are not found ballots they’re cast ballots.’
The comments from Sterling came after the president suggested on Twitter Wednesday that tens of thousands of ballots received Tuesday night are invalid.
‘They just happened to find 50,000 ballots late last night,’ Trump complained in a tweet. ‘The USA is embarrassed by fools. Our Election Process is worse than that of third world countries!’
Sterling, however, said that these ballots are not ‘new.’
‘We have known that [DeKalb County] had 171,000 advance voting ballots since Friday of this past week. Because that was when they were done voting,’ he explained. ‘None of this is new. None of this is surprising.’
He added: ‘This is part of his intention to create chaos around this as we go into his final act today as they challenge the results from Georgia and other states.’
Voting system implementation manager for the office of the Georgia Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling said Wednesday there are ‘mystical places’ in Donald Trump’s mind where he finds voter fraud allegations, claiming the president is ‘100 per cent’ to blame for Republicans losing in Georgia
Trump suggested in a tweet that 50,000 ballots in one of Georgia’s counties are invalid, claiming officials ‘just happened to find’ the ballots late Tuesday
A worker carries a bin of ballots in for scanning at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Tuesday night
Here election workers check for discrepancies and scan ballots cast in both Georgia runoff elections between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock and Republican Senator David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first black senator from Georgia. It also appears as of Wednesday morning that Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will topple Senator David Perdue, officially bringing the Senate split to 50-50.
‘It’s the honor of my life that I get to represent the people of this very great state in the United States Senate,’ Warnock told NBC’s ‘Today’ show the morning after his stunning win.
Trump spent the weeks leading up to the two most consequential Senate elections of this cycle pushing claims that Georgia’s election system is ‘rigged’ for Democrats. These unproven theories led to an online movement from the president’s most staunch supporters calling for a boycott of Tuesday’s runoff.
Trump also broke with the Peach State’s Republican leaders, causing a riff in the Georgia GOP just before the elections to decide control of the Senate – and spent his time campaigning for Loeffler and Perdue attempting to overturn his loss there.
‘Trump is the cause of this, lock, stock and barrel,’ one Republican strategist told Politico. ‘But when you’re relying on someone to win you a Senate race that also lost statewide eight weeks prior, you’re not in a position of strength.’
When asked who was responsible for the upsets in Georgia, Sterling also put the blame on the president – as well as former Georgia Representative Doug Collins, who ran against Loeffler and Warnock in the open general election on November 3.
‘The president of the United States is 100 per cent, four-square responsible with a little added assist from Doug Collins, who decided to run in the Senate jungle primary, which split the party,’ Sterling said.
‘I mean, when you tell people your vote didn’t count, this is all part of crazy town and people are stealing things, you undermine people’s confidence in the vote, then you create a civil war within the GOP at a time when the GOP probably wanted to unite their vote to turn out,’ he continued. ‘Those are the kind of things that the president is solely responsible for doing.’
Republicans were quick to turn on President Donald Trump after losing a Senate seat Tuesday in Georgia’s runoff elections and projections pointing toward the GOP losing control of the Senate
‘The president of the United States is 100 per cent, four-square responsible,’ Sterling said. ‘I mean, when you tell people your vote didn’t count, this is all part of crazy town and people are stealing things, you undermine people’s confidence in the vote, then you create a civil war within the GOP at a time when the GOP probably wanted to unite their vote to turn out. Those are the kind of things that the president is solely responsible for doing’
Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, declared victory in an early Wednesday morning address over Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler – becoming the first black senator from Georgia
Loeffler refused to concede as she spike to supporters in Atlanta early Wednesday morning. She attacked Warnock for ‘moving the country toward socialism’
As of Wednesday morning, Democrat Jon Ossoff (left) is leading incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue (right) by 0.4 per cent – pointing toward a 50-50 split Senate
Trump immediately attacked the integrity of the Georgia elections and complained on Twitter Wednesday morning of an unfair process riddled with fraud – just like he claims happened in the state during the presidential election.
‘States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval,’ Trump tweeted without providing any proof of states wanting to overturn their results.
‘All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!’ he continued, suggesting the vice president has any sort of power to influence Congress certifying Biden’s victory on Wednesday.
Trump railed against ‘voter fraud’ and ‘corruption’ on Twitter Wednesday morning, demanding Vice President Mike Pence stop Congress from certifying Electoral College results
He also claimed, as it appeared the GOP will lose their Senate majority, that America need a Republican President because of veto power
Trump wrote in another tweet, in all caps: ‘THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, OUR COUNTRY, NEEDS THE PRESIDENCY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE – THE POWER OF THE VETO. STAY STRONG!’
Pence, as is customary for vice presidents, will preside over a joint session of Congress on Wednesday meant to certify the Electoral College results.
He has virtually no power during the session other than accepting what Congress decides.
While some Republicans lament Trump should have been more involved in the Georgia Senate races in a way that didn’t undermine democracy, others felt it would have been better if the president steered clear of the competitive runoffs.
‘He is the Dems’ best base animator,’ a GOP strategist involved in the Georgia races saud.
‘Look at how high turnout was on their side compared to historical trends,’ they added. ‘Look at how much their candidates raised. He steps back after Election Day and denies them that oxygen. He didn’t.’
While Reverend Warnock defeated Loeffler on Tuesday, Ossof continues to lead in his race against Perdue by more than 16,000 votes as of Wednesday morning. The race has been called for Warnock, who won by more than 50,000 votes, but the other race has not yet been called.
All signs are pointing to a Democratic-led Senate being handed to President-elect Joe Biden.
Although, even if Ossoff does take the win, the Senate will sit at 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
The close margins could mean some of the more progressive legislation would still not make it through some middle-of-the-line Democratic senators – like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
Trump tweeted bitterly throughout the night as the dawn broke on the likelihood of a split Senate.
‘Looks like they are setting up a big ‘voter dump’ against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?’ The president tweeted amid a slew of unsubstantiated voter fraud claims.
Georgia has become a political focal point since the November general election as the Republicans sought desperately to retain their crucial Senate majority in a traditionally red state after losing the White House.
But the state has elected its first Democrat Senator for 20 years in a stinging rebuke of the GOP.
Warnock told supporters: ‘Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.’
When Loeffler gave her remarks earlier, she refused to concede, while Purdue’s campaign said: ‘This is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard.’
Warnock told supporters proudly of his deep roots in Georgia and about his family members, including his mother. He also quoted scripture and Martin Luther King Jr, who once preached at his Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
‘We have a choice to make,’ he said. ‘Will we continue to play political games as people suffer?’
He said he hoped his story would be an inspiration to some young person looking for the American dream.
‘So Georgia I am honored in the faith that you have shown to me,’ Warnock said. ‘I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.’
If both Democrats are successful, 51-year-old Warnock will become the state’s first black senator, while the 33-year-old Ossoff would be Georgia’s first Jewish senator if he wins.
The critical races drew an estimated 4.5 million voters – a record for a runoff – along with nearly half a billion dollars in advertising spending since November 3 and visits on Monday by Trump and Biden.
Perdue is a former Fortune 500 executive who has served one Senate term. Loeffler, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, was appointed a year ago to fill the seat of a retiring senator.
Biden’s narrow statewide win over Trump in the general election – the first victory for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 – gave the party reason for optimism in a state dominated by Republicans for decades.
The head-to-head runoff elections in Georgia, a quirk of state law, became necessary when no candidate in either race drew more than 50 percent of the vote in November’s general election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said election officials would take a break overnight but resume counting on Wednesday morning. ‘Hopefully by noon we’ll have a better idea where we are,’ he said.
Late reporting from DeKalb County put the Democrats in a more formidable position.
Trump predicted that – tweeting around 10.30pm that their wins would be products of more voter fraud.
‘Looks like they are setting up a big ‘voter dump’ against the Republican candidates,’ Trump wrote. ‘Waiting to see how many votes they need?’ the president tweeted.
Later on he continued: ‘Just happened to have found another 4000 ballots from Fulton County. Here we go!’
The president has since been retweeting baseless theories from right-wing commentator Tomi Lahren who claimed, ‘The steal is in the making in Georgia. Wait for it,’ and ‘Democrats scrounging up votes from mystical places again.’
Stacey Abrams tweeted her congratulations to Rev. Raphael Warnock before the race was called for him by the networks
Before Trump’s tweets, the Drudge Report and other secondary outlets called the race for Warnock. The New York Times said it was ‘very likely’ Warnock and ‘pretty likely’ for Ossoff. By midnight, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman predicted both Democrats would win.
Former Georgia House of Representatives minority leader and failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams tweeted her congratulations to Warnock before his win was called by the networks.
Abrams’ get out the vote efforts are largely credited for the state going to Biden in the November 3 election.
‘Congratulations to our next U.S. Senator, @ReverendWarnock. Last January, I endorsed my dear friend in his quest to serve. Soon, he will walk those august halls & cast votes as a leader with courage, justice and integrity. God bless you and keep you in your service to us all,’ Abrams wrote.
At an election night party in Atlanta, Loeffler attacked Warnock saying he was moving the country toward socialism, even as he cut ads to reach out to suburban voters and called for unity.
‘It was very obvious my opponent campaigned on a platform of high taxes, socialism, government control of our health care,’ she said. ‘Stopping our school choice for our children. My campaign’s about saving our country. Fighting for the American dream. You know? That’s right,’ she said to a smattering of cheers.
She vowed to fight on, and suggested she would stick to her declaration Monday that she would back election challenges on behalf of Trump.
‘So you know it’s worth it for this election to last into tomorrow,’ she continued. ‘We’re going to make sure every vote is counted. That’s right. Every legal vote will be counted. And I’m not going to stop working.’
U.S. equity market index futures were broadly weaker as the results turned in favor of the Democrats, signaling stocks could open on the soft side on Wednesday morning.
The benchmark S&P 500 e-mini futures contract was down 0.6%, while futures tracking the tech-heavy Nasdaq were off by 1.3%.
The campaign’s final days were overshadowed by Trump’s efforts to subvert the presidential election results.
On Saturday, Trump pressured Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, on a phone call to ‘find’ enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory, falsely claiming massive fraud.
Trump’s bid to undo his loss – with some Republicans planning to object to the certification of Biden’s win when Congress meets on Wednesday to formally count the presidential vote – have split his party and drawn condemnation from critics who accuse him of undermining democracy.
At a rally in Georgia on Monday night, Trump again declared the November vote ‘rigged,’ an assertion some Republicans worried would dissuade his supporters from voting on Tuesday.
His attacks appear to have undermined public confidence in the electoral system. Edison’s exit poll found more than seven in 10 were very or somewhat confident their votes would be counted accurately, down from 85% who said the same in a Nov. 3 exit poll.
As the Democratic Senate hopefuls looked poised to jump ahead, President Donald Trump again alleged fraud, suggesting that there would be a ‘voter dump’ against the GOP candidates, which is why Dekalb County was taking so long to report
President Donald Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising tweet on behalf of the president around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night as returns were coming in, repeating his unfounded claims of voter fraud
Fulton County, Georgia election workers process absentee ballots Tuesday in the nail-biter race
Georgia Republicans await election results on Tuesday night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia
Georiga Gov. Brian Kemp addresses an audience of Republican supporters of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Tuesday night in Georgia. President Donald Trump turned on Kemp after losing Georgia in the November general election
Warnock is a reverend and the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where MLK once preached.
Ossoff was watching the results with his election team while his wife, an OBGYN was working the overnight shift, receiving updates from her patients, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
His campaign put out a statement once he overtook Perdue in votes, predicting he’d be successful.
‘When the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate. We look forward to seeing the process through in the coming hours and moving ahead so Jon can start fighting for all Georgians in the U.S. Senate,’ the statement read.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump was already claiming voter fraud, floating a theory that Dominion voting machines were malfunctioning.
And as midnight neared, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted out a conspiracy theory that Democrats were up to something in Chatham County, where the stronghold of Savannah is.
‘Why are they stopping the vote count in Democrat Chatham county, Georgia?’ McEnany wrote. ‘This sounds familiar!’
Earlier Tuesday Trump posted to his Twitter, ‘Reports are coming out of the 12th Congressional District of Georgia that Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds for over an hour.’
‘Ballots are being left in lock boxes, hopefully they count them. Thank you Congressman @RickAllen!’ he continued, directing his gratitude to Georgia’s 12th district Rep. Rick Allen.
As returns were coming in Tuesday night, Trump sent out a fundraising text to supporters trying to raise money off the allegations.
‘Pres Trump: Is it true that voting machines ‘stopped working’ earlier in Georgia today? Are Dems trying to STEAL this Election? FIGHT BACK! Act,’ the text said, linking to page asking for donations.
The claim from Trump of voter fraud appears to have come from Perdue, who is running for reelection in the runoff, and John Fredericks, who appeared on former Trump White House strategist Steven Bannon’s podcast Tuesday.
‘We’ve got another problem with Dominion machines,’ Fredericks told Bannon on his podcast War Room. ‘I know this is going to shock your viewers today. But Dominion machines in several – get this, not one or two – I heard, three of the largest Republican precincts at 10:00 a.m. are down.’
‘People have been told that they cannot scan their ballots… because the machines don’t work,’ he continued. ‘In the meantime, they have to make their ballot out and put it in an envelope and the pole workers are saying ‘When it’s fixed we’ll scan it for you.’
‘So there’s all kinds of red flags right there,’ Fredericks said. ‘Of course, these are happening in Republican areas. You can extrapolate that, it could be happenstance.’
Also on Tuesday, Perdue told the Todd Starnes Show there were voting ‘anomalies’ involving Dominion machines in three different counties in Georgia.
The president’s tweet about the claims of irregularities and malfunctions comes as reports emerge of small lines at polling places and low in-person Election Day turnout – a bad sign for Republican incumbents Loeffler and Perdue.
Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff and now is financial chair of the Georgia Battleground Fund, said in a private conference call Monday that the two campaigns’ models show at least 1 million Georgians need to show up on Election Day for Republicans to win.
Lines in Georgia have been much shorter than expected all day Tuesday as voters turn out on Election Day to cast their ballots in the two Senate runoff elections
Incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler (left) waves at supporters going to vote in Sandy Springs, Georgia as her Democratic opponent Reverend Raphael Warnock (right) speaks at a canvassing kick off event in Marietta, Georgia on Election Day
Immediately after news of smaller-than-expected Election Day turnout emerged, Trump sent an inevitable claim via tweet that Dominion voting machines were malfunctioning – the same claim he uses to assert he actually won Georgia in the presidential contest in November
Republican Georgia Senator David Perdue – who is running for reelection – is still quarantining after being diagnosed with coroanvirus. His Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff (pictured) visited Dunbar Neighborhood Center on Election Day in Acworth, Georgia
Voters started lining up at the crack of dawn to cast their ballots in the two consequential runoff races. The lines, however, are quite short, with some claiming it took them a total of 5 minutes between showing up and leaving their polling places
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urged Democrats to start turning out more on Tuesday, as well – despite a larger Election Day turnout usually favoring Republicans.
‘I know @ReverendWarnock and @Ossoff,’ the California senator said of the two Democratic candidates. ‘We’ve talked about the promise of our country. How we must help Americans with $2,000 stimulus checks, ensure our children have clean air to breathe, and our small businesses can thrive. That’s who they are—and who they’ll be as U.S. Senators.’
On the other hand, Donald Trump Jr. was pushing for more Republicans to turn out.
‘Get out and vote Georgia you have 2 1/2 hours to get in line to save America as you know it from the communists,’ the president’s eldest son and one of his closest campaign advisers said. ‘She’s worth fighting for!’
All eyes turned to the Peach State on Tuesday as thousands across Georgia headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the two consequential runoff races that will decide Senate control.
Voters began lining up in the Peach State at the crack of dawn Tuesday and polls closed at 7 p.m. – setting up Washington for a day of speculation and nail biting as the two races will not only determine which party controls the Senate, but also the trajectory of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urged Democrats in Georgia to start turning out more on Tuesday – despite a larger Election Day turnout usually favoring Republicans
Donald Trump Jr., the president eldest son and closest campaign adviser, was also pushing for Republicans to turn out with just a few hours left to cast their votes
Lines were as bad as expected – leading to speculation that Warnock and Ossoff could both emerge victorious.
‘I am hearing of virtually no lines across the state,’ Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Tuesday.
Abrams tweeted Tuesday that voters are getting in and out of polling places in minutes thanks to early voting.
‘MSNBC is reporting that voters at many Atlanta Metro polling places are in and out in 5 minutes today because so many Georgians voted early!’ Abrams posted. ‘So if you haven’t voted, get out and vote by 7PM today. I’m counting on you.’
This is nothing compared to the very long lines seen for in-person early voting in Georgia this year – or those lines experienced in the pre-pandemic era in the 2018 runoff.
Similar issues that delayed results of the presidential election in Georgia could unfold after Tuesday’s runoff contests if the race turnouts are as close as they are expected to be.
Voters in Georgia started casting their ballots Tuesday morning in the two runoff elections in the state, which will determine which party controls the Senate
Georgians began arriving to vote before polling places even opened. Here a line forms at Cobb County Community Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Hundreds of thousands of Georgians are expected to vote on Tuesday before the polls close at 7:00 p.m. – after a record-shattering 3 million already voted in the runoff elections early by mail or in-person
Republicans expect to win both Senate races. But there are concerns the GOP senators will only win if at least 1 million more voters show up on Election Day to the 3 million who voted early
Masked-up and Socially Distanced: Georgia voters stood feet away from each other and donned face masks as they waited outside to be let into their respective polling places to vote
Trump pleaded with Georgians to vote for Loeffler and Perdue in a tweet Tuesday morning: ‘So important to do so!’ he urged
Volunteers at a voting center in Austell, Georgia hand out food and drinks to voters lined up waiting to cast their ballots
The southern state swung blue for Joe Biden by less than 12,000 votes on November 3, neither Senate race was decided because no candidate earned the 50 per cent needed to avoid a runoff
Georgia voters alone will decided the fate of the Senate in the two runoffs
A sign outside a voting center reminds candidates and their surrogates, as well as anyone else, that campaigning within 150 feet of a polling place is prohibited by law
With around 5.5 million registered voters in Georgia, more than half of those who can vote have already done so before runoff election day on Tuesday.
Data from Georgia Secretary of State’s office indicates much more people showed up to vote early in person rather than absentee by mail – even in the midst of the pandemic.
Walter Jones, a spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the highest ranking Georgia election official, said: ‘We may be looking at several days’ before results are known.
He claimed the delay would most likely come from mail ballots received on Tuesday.
Election officials are not able to start counting ballots until 7 p.m. on Tuesday – after the polling places close.
Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots will continue flooding in throughout the day Tuesday, and that, combined with tabulating in-person voting could delay the counting process.
Slow counting held up the results of the presidential election results in Georgia, with Trump holding a solid lead before mail-in ballots received on November 3 were fully processed and counted in the days after.
Biden won by less than 12,000 votes in the days after Election Day – and the minuscule margin of victory led to two separate recounts in the Peach State, further delaying the final results.
Historically, Democrats do better in mail-in and early voting and Republicans perform better on Election Day.
Trump, while pushing for Loeffler and Perdue’s reelections, also used his Monday night rally in Dalton County, Georgia to complain of his claimed widespread voter fraud and push his repeated – and largely unproven – allegations that the presidency was ‘stolen’ by Democrats.
President Donald Trump held a rally Monday night in Dalton County, Georgia for Republican incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler (pictured) and David Perdue
Perdue joined the rally remotely to address the crowd at one point. He is still quarantining at his home after contracting coroanvirus
Earlier in the day, President-elect Joe Biden held an event campaigning for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff (left) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (center)
Loeffler told Fox News on Monday night that she would join a dozen other Republican senators in a plot to challenge at least one state’s Electoral College results when Congress moves to certify the election for Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Trump announced on his Twitter Tuesday morning that Perdue was also joining the effort to challenge the results.
‘Pleased to announce that @KLoeffler & @sendavidperdue have just joined our great #StopTheSteal group of Senators,’ the president posted. ‘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!’
A group of House Republicans, led by Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, started pushing the plan last month and have gained a lot of traction since then after the group of senators joined the effort.
Loeffler attended the rally Monday night, but Perdue is still quarantining after being in contact with a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.
He joined the rally by video for a short time to address the crowd gathered on the tarmac for one of Trump’s last rallies of his presidency.
Trump lauded Loeffler and Perdue on Tuesday for joining a GOP effort in the Senate to challenge the Electoral College results in the joint session certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6
During the rally, Trump demanded that Vice President Mike Pence ‘come through’ as he presides over Congress certifying the election on January 6 and Republicans carry out their plan to challenge the results.
‘I hope Mike Pence comes through for us. He’s a great guy,’ Trump told an audience Monday night. ‘Of course if he doesn’t come through I won’t like him quite as much.’
While the president’s biggest Capitol Hill allies challenge some of the states’ Electoral College counts, which could elongate the Congressional session for hours or even days, Pence will just announce the results.
Even though there is little to nothing Pence can do to change the outcome, Trump is suggesting he has the power to do so.
Thousands of the president’s most staunch supporters are descending on Washington D.C. on Wednesday to protest the election results, demanding Democrats ‘stop the steal’ and Trump be declared the true winner.
The GOP has been tearing itself apart from the inside out in the midst of the Georgia runoff as Republicans pick sides on standing with the president on his claims of widespread voter fraud or not.
Specifically, Georgia Republicans are publicly split on the matter.
In a call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday, Trump pressured him to find 11,780 votes for him in the Peach State to overturn Biden’s win there.
Audio of the call was leaked – by Raffensperger himself – on Sunday, and revealed a desperate Trump who, at times, begged, flattered and threatened the Georgia official, who is a Republican.
Trump has also attacked Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp for not doing enough to try and overturn the results after the state went blue in the presidential elections.
Kemp appeared at an election night party with Republican supporters of the two Senate candidates Tuesday in Atlanta.
Loeffler and Perdue, however, have stayed on the president’s side – not wanting to upset him and his supporters before their runoff elections.
Raphael Warnock becomes Georgia’s first black senator: Democrat pastor, 51, who leads church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached pays tribute to mother who ‘used to pick somebody else’s cotton’ as he claims Senate seat
- Warnock said last night: ‘Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a senator’
- He was elected the first black Senator in the traditionally red state and became the first Democrat to be sent to the upper chamber by Georgians for 20 years
- Warnock grew up in the projects of Savannah with his 11 brothers and sisters
- His father Jonathan was a WWII veteran, business owner and preacher, while his mother Verlene worked picking cotton and tobacco in the summers
- Warnock, a divorced father-of-two, studied theology at the historically black Morehouse College and worked at churches in New York and Maryland
- In 2006, Warnock was called to Martin Luther King Jr.’s pulpit at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached from 1960 until his assassination
By Ross Ibbetson for MailOnline
A Democrat pastor who leads the congregation at Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and whose mother used to pick cotton has been elected Georgia’s first black Senator.
Raphael Warnock, 51, claimed victory in the first of the state’s two Senate runoffs Wednesday, defeating Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and becoming the first Democrat winner in 20 years.
‘The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,’ he told his supporters last night.
‘We proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.’
Georgia is still awaiting the result in the second runoff but it looks likely Democrat Jon Ossoff will oust Republican David Perdue in that race too in a brutal night for the GOP.
Warnock’s victory is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South.
Raphael Warnock with his parents Verlene and Jonathan Warnock after his graduation from Morehouse College
Raphael Warnock and his now ex-wife Ouleye Ndoye pictured together in September 2018 at Dr. Christine King Farris 90th Birthday Celebration in Atlanta. The pair divorced in May and shortly before the election police bodycam footage emerged showing a dispute between the pair during which Ndoye alleged Warnock ran over her foot with his car. He was never charged
His father, a veteran of the Second World War, worked as a preacher, mechanic in Savnnah
It follows Biden’s win in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.
Warnock’s mother Verlene who used to pick tobacco and cotton during the summers
The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up to his lead.
Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas.
The divorced father-of-two acknowledged his improbable victory in a message to supporters, citing his family’s experience with poverty.
He grew up in the projects of Savannah with 11 brothers and sisters.
His father Jonathan, a veteran of the Second World War, worked as a preacher, mechanic and his mother Verlene used to pick tobacco and cotton during the summers.
‘My family was short on money, but long on love and faith,’ Warnock wrote earlier this year. ‘They (his parents) worked hard for what they had and saw the value in what others had discarded.’
Energised by his parents belief that he could do anything, Warnock gained a scholarship to the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta.
He later earned a doctorate in philosophy from Union Theological Seminary, a school affiliated with Columbia University in Manhattan.
In the 1990s, Warnock worked as a youth pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and protested against Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s workfare program to cut benefits and get people into employment.
‘We are worried that workfare is being used to displace other workers who receive respectable compensation,’ Warnock told the New York Times in 1997.
‘We are concerned that poor people are being put into competition with other poor people, and in that respect, we think workfare is a hoax.’
In the early 2000s, he moved to become the senior pastor of senior pastor at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
And in 2006, he was appointed the leader of MLK’s former congregation at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta – the youngest senior pastor since its founding.
Rev. Raphael Warnock delivers the eulogy for Rayshard Brooks’ funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in June
In 2013, Warnock delivered the benediction at the public prayer service at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Obama is pictured giving the eulogy at the funeral service for the late Rep. John Lewis at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020
‘Fourteen years ago, the kid who grew up in the projects was called to Martin Luther King Jr.’s pulpit,’ Warnock wrote in June.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gesturing toward heaven while delivering sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He worked at the church as co-pastor alongside his father from 1960 until his assassination in 1968
Martin Luther Sr. helped lead the church with his father-in-law in the 1920s before taking over in 1931.
Thirty years later his own son Martin Luther King Jr. would join him at the church, working as co-pastor until his assassination in 1968.
King’s funeral was held at Ebenezer on April 9, 1968.
Warnock took up the mantle of the great history of the Ebenezer pastors in setting out the stall for social justice and invited Barack Obama to speak at the church in the early days of the 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2013, Warnock delivered the benediction at the public prayer service for Obama’s second inauguration.
‘Somebody asked why a pastor thinks he should serve in the Senate,’ Warnock said in a recent campaign video.
‘Well, I committed my whole life to service and helping people realize their highest potential. I’ve always thought my impact doesn’t stop at the church door. That’s actually where it starts.’
According to the Rev. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Warnock is the first member of Congress from the South since Reconstruction to ‘explicitly profess the spiritual tradition of the social gospel as envisioned and designed by people of African descent.’
Democrats were last night banking on the ‘activist pastor’ to come good, with thousands in the state furious about the division they believe Trump has sown and the healthcare response to Covid-19.
It’s also a state where around three-quarters of the population regularly attend church.
Warnock is firmly of the view that the word of Jesus Christ should guide politics and that politics is essential to the work of the church.
‘What we’re really talking about is a renaissance of the Kingian tradition, which is really bigger than the left or the right, and red and blue,’ he told The Atlantic.
‘It’s a deep human-rights tradition that is … informed by Christian tradition, but is not limited to it.’
His opponent Loeffler tried to paint Warnock as a radical, something which MLK experienced.
But it’s something which Warnock has learned to take in his stride.
‘I’m an activist preacher,’ he said earlier this year. ‘I’m a Matthew 25 Christian, where Jesus says, ‘I was hungry, and you fed me.”
His policies are progressive: he opposes all abortion restrictions, supports gay marriage, opposes concealed carry of firearms, talks often about living wages for workers and refers to the death penalty as ‘the last fail-safe for white supremacy.’
From 2016 to 2020, Warnock was married to Oulèye Ndoye, with whom he shares two children.
The couples’ divorce was finalized in May, two months earlier Ndoye accused Warnock of running over her foot with a car while trying to get out an argument.
They were disputing whether their two children should be allowed to travel to Senegal to Ndoye’s relatives.
Police were called to their home, and Warnock was caught on camera telling the officer his wife called the police on him, alleging that he had run over her foot.
Footage of the incident was released shortly before the runoff election.
Warnock and Ndoye, pictured in their 2014 wedding, have two children together
Ouleye Ndoye, 35, told police that she ‘tried to keep the way that he acts under wraps’
Medical officials did not find visible signs of injury on his wife’s foot.
A police report, referring to Grady Memorial Hospital first-responders, noted that an inspection of Ndoye’s foot showed no broken bones, swelling or contusions.
Warnock was never charged with a crime.
When her accusations were first made public, in March, Warnock addressed the incident in a sermon.
‘God looks on the heart. We live on the outside. God knows what’s happening on the inside,’ he said.
‘And while divorce is not ideal, divorce is not the worst thing that can happen to you. So pray for us.
‘The second thing I want to say to you – and I hope you will hear me because I’m going to say it once. I’ve been here 15 years, almost 15 years now. I want you to know that I am the man that you have known me to be. The work that we’ve done together in public reflects my values and who I am in private. Same man in public and in private.’
Senator Kelly Loeffler
Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed to her seat over the objections of President Trump, and spent her tenure trying to put as little daylight as possible between her and the president.
The richest senator, Loeffler, 50, was never Trump’s favorite. The president preferred conservative loyalist Rep. Doug Collins for the vacancy that came up with the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isaakson in 2019.
She opposed Trump’s impeachment, and bragged about her ‘100 percent Trump voting record’ on the campaign trail.
But the former exec who co-owns the Atlanta Dream WNBA team made political stumbles throughout her tenure, which made her an endangered incumbent heading into November and then again in January even in a Republican-leaning state.
On Monday night, at a rally where Trump campaigned for her, she announced that she would back the challenge to the election that Trump is demanding when Congress meets Wednesday to count the Electoral College votes.
When she appeared with Trump Monday at the nighttime rally, she pointed awkwardly in the air and spoke for just seconds. Two weeks ago, at another rally with Ivanka Trump, crowd members chanted over her while she was trying to tout the case for her own reeelction.
‘Fight for Trump! … Stop the steal!’ audience members chanted.
After the killing of George Floyd, she clashed with the WNBA after teams promoted a Black Lives Matter message. Players responded on her own team responded by wearing matching ‘Vote Warnock’ t-shirts.
She was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in December 2019 after then-Senator Johnny Isakson announced he was resigning for health reasons.
Kemp was a Trump ally, although the president has of late blasted him as a RINO for failing to support his effort to overturn the election results in his state.
Loeffler considers herself the most conservative Republican in the Senate and has aligned herself fully with Trump – touting her ‘100 per cent Trump voting record’ while campaigning.
Before ascending to Congress, Loeffler served as CEO of Bakkt, a digital asset conversion company, a subsidiary of her husband Jeffrey Sprecher’s financial service provider Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange. She also co-owns WNBA team the Atlanta Dream.
She faced a bitter primary against Collins, a Trump loyalist and defender in the House. She also had to stand for her first election on the ballot at a time when Georgia became a presidential battleground. Democrat Joe Biden would end up defeating Trump by 11,779 votes.
She also had to contend with accusations of insider trading even as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the nation. She and her husband traded millions worth of stocks between January and mid-February. This included stocks where the pandemic had an effect.
The Daily Beast reported on the trade, which took place after Loeffler attended a closed Jan. 24 Senate briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in March.
Under growing pressure, she announced that she and her husband were liquidating stocks they held in individual companies.
The Justice Department closed an investigation into her stock trades, and the Senate Ethics Committee determined she did not break rules or laws. Senate rules allow members to trade stocks, but require their disclosure.
After she was forced into a runoff against Warnock, Loeffler’s path was complicated by Trump’s efforts to overturn the results certified in her state -including after a hand recount. She would call for the resignation of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who pushed back on Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
But she dodged questions on whether she would back Trump’s election challenges when Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes.
It was only on Monday that she announced she would back Trump’s effort.
Loeffler and Sprecher, 65, were married in 2004 and have no children. Their net worth is $800 million, making Loeffler the richest member of Congress, by far. The two reside in Tuxedo Park – a neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia – in a $10.5 million estate.
Reverend Raphael Warnock
Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock, 51, is looking to take Senator Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seat in his first run for public office. The reverend rose to prominence in Georgia politics in 2014 when he emerged a leader in the effort to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Warnock chaired the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan organization focused on voter registration, from June 2017 to January 2020. He has also served as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia since 2005 – the same church where Marin Luther King Jr. preached alongside his father from 1959 until his death in 1968.
In 2013, Warnock delivered the benediction at the public prayer service for Barack Obama’s second inauguration. As Warnock geared up for his 2020 Senate run, he hosted in March 2019 an interfaith meeting on climate change at his church, featuring Al Gore.
The reverend grew up in public housing in Savannah, Georgia as the eleventh of twelve children of two Pentecostal pastors.
From 2016 to 2020, Warnock was married to Oulèye Ndoye, with whom he shares two children. His now-ex-wife accused Warnock of running over her foot with a car while trying to get out of an argument. Body camera footage of Warnock’s interview with police during the incident was made public before the runoff election.
Senator David Perdue
David Perdue, 71, first became a U.S. senator for Georgia in 2015, replacing retiring Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. This year is his first reelection campaign, and he didn’t earn the 50 per cent needed to avoid a runoff. Perdue is a cousin of President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Before seeking public office, Perdue served as senior vice president for Reebok and later joined PillowTex, a North Carolina textile company. Following that, he was CEO of Dollar General. In the list of most rich members of Congress, Perdue falls at No. 21 with a net worth of 15.8 million.
Perdue, like his Georgia colleague Kelly Loeffler, was linked to a congressional insider trading scandal in 2020 for selling stocks before the market crashed in a fallout from the coroanvirus pandemic. They both allegedly used knowledge from a closed Senate meeting to make stock decision.
Perdue resides in Sea Island, Georgia with his wife Bonnie Dunn, who he married in 1972. The couple has two sons and three grandchildren. They had a daughter who died in infancy.
Thomas Jonathan Ossoff, who goes by Jon, is, by far, the youngest candidate in Georgia’s runoff elections at just 33. To become a U.S senator, candidates must be 30 on the day of swearing in.
In 2017, Ossoff launch a bid to become a representative in the special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. The district was long considered a Republican stronghold, but Ossoff came in first – without earning the 50 per cent to win. He ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel in a runoff.
He interned for Representative John Lewis before spending five years as a national security staffer to Representative Hank Johnson – leaving in 2012 to earn a master’s degree at the London School of Economics.
Since 2013, Ossoff has served as managing director and CEO of Insight TWI, a London-based investigative television production company creating documentaries on corruption in foreign countries.
Ossoff, who was raised Jewish, is married to Alisha Kramer, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Emory University.
The Democratic candidates prides himself on being a child of an immigrant – his mother, Heather Fenton, is Australian – and his multimillionaire father Richard Ossoff owns a specialist publishing company.