ATLANTA, Ga. – Jon Ossoff has won his Senate runoff election in Georgia, The Associated Press projects.
The victory brings to Senate to 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking ties in favor of the Democratic Party.
On Tuesday night, the Associated Press declared Rev. Raphael Warnock the winner in the other Senate race over Sen. Kelly Loeffler. That race was a special election to determine who would finish out the remaining two years of Sen. Johnny Isakson's term, who retired in 2019.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's Voting Systems Implementation Manager, confirmed that most of the outstanding votes remained in the Atlanta metro area, which has skewed blue during the current cycle. He added that some counties are still counting mail-in ballots that arrived on Tuesday, and that most counties should finish those tallies by 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Sterling added that while votes still need to be counted, he believes that Ossoff will win the race by a margin of greater than 0.5%, which would rule out any recount efforts.
Finally, Sterling pushed back unproven claims of widespread voter fraud levied by President Donald Trump, adding that the president is "finding fraud where none exists."
"(There are no allegations of fraud) that seems real in any way shape or form quite honestly,” Sterling said.
No Mr. President, there weren’t “found” ballots. We have known the number of advanced votes since this weekend. We saw record Election Day turnout. As of Monday 970,000 absentees had been accepted. 31k more were added in yesterday’s totals. That leaves 60k that came in yesterday. https://t.co/vMVMEooZUQ— Gabriel Sterling (@GabrielSterling) January 6, 2021
Warnock declares victory
Addressing supporters virtually early Wednesday morning, Warnock declared victory despite the race not being formally called at the time of his speech. Warnock held a narrow lead over Loeffler with a small number of ballots still to be counted.
“I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia," Warnock told supporters.
Warnock is a newcomer to politics, but has well-known name within the state. He is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which was founded by Martin Luther King Jr.
Meanwhile, Loeffler said she still has a path toward victory.
"There are a lot of votes out there and we have a path to victory; we are staying on it," she said.
Vote counting going 'smoothly'
Those conducting the count in Georgia say that the 2021 runoff has gone smoothly, with minimal wait times at the polls.
Turnout also was quite high for a non-presidential race. Nearly 4.4 million votes were counted as of late Tuesday, with thousands more to go. That total is more than the 4 million that voted in the 2016 presidential election in Georgia.
“After wait times averaging just 2 minutes on November 3rd, Georgia’s election administration is hitting a new milestone for effectiveness and efficiency,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “I have always said that after every election, half the people will be happy and half will be disappointed, but everyone should be confident in the reliability of the results.”