US President Joe Biden praised the expansion of his party’s Senate majority following the declaration of Democrat Raphael Warnock as the victor of a runoff race in Georgia on Tuesday.
According to predictions made by media networks, the incumbent senator defeated Republican Herschel Walker, a former football star and ally of former president Donald Trump.
With Warnock’s victory, the extremely narrow Democratic majority in the upper house of Congress (51 to 49) is confirmed.
“Tonight Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and most importantly, sent a good man back to the Senate. Here’s to six more years,” Biden tweeted.
The party’s electoral victory had little impact on the Senate’s power structure because Democrats already held a majority there as of November 8.
However, Warnock’s victory gives Democrats more authority in committees and limits the ability of anyone Democratic senator to block Biden measures. Warnock is a pastor at the Atlanta church where civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. once gave a sermon.
“After a hard-fought campaign –- or should I say campaigns –- it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken,” Warnock said in a victory speech.
“I often say that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children,” he told a packed Atlanta ballroom. “You have put in the hard work and here we are standing together.”
Last month, the Republicans regained control of the House, albeit with a far smaller margin than anticipated.
Both African Americans, Warnock, 53, and Walker, 60, stood before voters after none received more than 50% of the vote in the midterm elections on November 8.
In that vote, Democrats won 50 seats, maintaining their majority in the 100-seat Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
Joe Manchin, a moderate Democratic senator who has already rejected many big Biden measures in the first two years of the president’s term, may see his influence dramatically reduced as a result of Warnock’s victory.
Republicans seek to stop Biden’s momentum with 700 days until the 2024 presidential election after his party outperformed expectations in November.
Democrats, who were determined to win the election, enlisted the help of charismatic former president Barack Obama, who last week campaigned alongside Warnock in Atlanta.
Another indication of the high stakes was the $400 million spent on the Georgia election, making it the most expensive midterm campaign.
1.9 million people cast early ballots, the majority of whom were likely Democratic supporters. On Tuesday, Republicans were anticipated to vote in large numbers.