Democrats have won both Georgia Senate seats — and with them, the US Senate majority — as the final votes were counted in the state.
The result serves President Donald Trump a stunning defeat in his last days in office while dramatically improving the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.
Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challengers who represented the diversity of their party’s evolving coalition, defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler two months after Mr Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.
Mr Warnock, who served as pastor for the same Atlanta church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr preached, becomes the first African American from Georgia elected to the Senate.
And Mr Ossoff becomes the state’s first Jewish senator and, at 33 years old, the Senate’s youngest member.
Their success 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.
This week’s elections mark the formal finale to the turbulent 2020 election season. The unusually high stakes transformed Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the final days of Mr Trump’s presidency — and likely beyond.
In an emotional address early on Wednesday, Mr Warnock vowed to work for all Georgians whether they voted for him or not, citing his personal experience with the American dream.
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.”