ATLANTA, Ga. – Jon Ossoff is projected to win his Senate runoff election in Georgia.
The Associated Press called the race for the 33-year-old shortly after 4:15 p.m. ET Wednesday. At that time, 98% of the vote was reported and Ossoff led his opponent, incumbent Sen. David Perdue, by about 27,075 votes.
In a video tweeted out Wednesday, Ossoff thanked the people of Georgia for electing him.
“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the U.S. Senate, thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me,” said Ossoff.
Thank you, Georgia. https://t.co/IupT2d69aF
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) January 6, 2021
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's Voting Systems Implementation Manager, said he believes Ossoff will win his race by a margin of greater than 0.5%, which would rule out any recount efforts.
Ossoff’s race was one of two Senate runoff elections in the state. On Tuesday night, The Associated Press also 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.
Ossoff and Warnock’s victories bring the Senate to 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking ties in favor of the Democratic Party. With the House also controlled by Democrats, President-elect Joe Biden will have a much easier time passing legislation after he takes office on Jan. 20.
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.”