Democrat and pastor Raphael Warnock become first black senator in US state of Georgia

Democrat Raphael Warnock has won one of Georgia’s two US Senate run-offs, becoming the first black senator in his state’s history and putting the Senate majority within the Democrats’ reach.

A pastor who has spent 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King preached, Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler.

It was a stinging rebuke to outgoing President Donald Trump, who made one of his final trips in office to Georgia to rally his loyal base behind Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue.

The focus now shifts to the second race between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on January 20.

Striking shift

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.

Democrat Raphael Warnock addresses his supporters on his way to winning the Georgia run-off. Credit: EPA

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