Ossoff Claims Georgia Win as Democrats Near Senate Control

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Democrat Jon Ossoff claimed victory over Republican David Perdue in Georgia Wednesday morning as he held a slight lead of about 16,000 votes in a race that was still too close for major news organizations to call.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in a video statement.

“Everybody who cast your ballot, everybody who put your faith in confidence in our democracy’s capacity to deliver the representation that we deserve — whether you were for me or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I will serve all the people of the state.”

Democrats have already captured one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats as Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler in one of the runoff races, according to the Associated Press.

As vote counting was continuing Wednesday, Ossoff held a lead of about 16,000 votes over Perdue, a former corporate executive and one-term senator. Some of the outstanding votes yet to be counted are coming from heavily Democrat precincts. But it could take days to get the final tally, as 17,000 military and overseas ballots can still be counted as late as Friday, and some other absentee ballots were still out.

The narrow results will almost certainly spark legal challenges or recounts that also could delay a final determination of Senate control.

Two Democratic victories in Georgia would flip control of the Senate to Democrats. The chamber would be split 50-50 between Republicans and the Democratic caucus, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.

Senate control, paired with the Democrats’ narrow majority in the House, would give President-elect Joe Biden a unified U.S. government and could smooth the path for his nominations and some major legislation.

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