Voters woke to Wednesday morning still awaiting the outcome of Georgia’'s other U.S. senate runoff between GOP incumbent David Perdue and his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff.
Warnock has spent the past 15 years leading the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, an iconic symbol itself of the civil rights movement.
Not every social media post was in support of the new senator.
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.
Warnock follows Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.
Warnock, 51, acknowledged his improbable victory in a message to supporters early Wednesday, citing his family’s experience with poverty. His mother, he said, used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.
“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 said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”
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.
Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight.
“We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” insisted Loeffler, a 50-year-old former businesswoman who was appointed to the Senate less than a year ago by the state’s governor.
Loeffler, who remains a Georgia senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, said she would return to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory.
“We are going to keep fighting for you,” Loeffler said, “This is about protecting the American dream.”