Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock Certified by Georgia as Senate Runoff Winners

Two weeks after the critical January 5 runoffs, in Georgia, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have had their Senate victories made official.

The secretary of state's office announced Tuesday that the two elections have been certified. In a brief statement, the office said GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger "affirmed that all 159 counties have provided to the state the total votes" and that they are "a true and correct tabulation of the certified returns received by the office from each county."

Ossoff and Warnock narrowly defeated Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively. As a result, Democrats will have the thinnest of advantages in the evenly split Senate, as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can break any 50-50 votes.

The final results of the Georgia contests show Ossoff defeated Perdue by a 1.2 percent margin, or 54,944 votes. Warnock beat Loeffler by a larger margin: 2.08 percent, or 93,272 votes.

Both Republicans conceded to Ossoff and Warnock before the state's certification of the results on Tuesday. Loeffler was the first to admit defeat, posting a video online on January 7 thanking her supporters and promising to remain politically active.

On election night, Perdue's campaign vowed to "mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted." But on January 8, he walked back that statement in a concession to Ossoff.

"Although we won the general election, we came up short of Georgia's 50% rule, and now I want to congratulate the Democratic Party and my opponent for this runoff win. Bonnie and I will continue to pray for our wonderful state and our great country. May God continue to bless Georgia and the United States of America," Perdue said.

The GOP losses have been pinned to President Donald Trump's post-election attacks on Georgia's electoral process and Republican state officials. Trump lost the traditionally red state to President-elect Joe Biden by roughly 12,000 votes. He filed multiple lawsuits to overturn the election outcome and was caught on a recorded phone call attempting to pressure Raffensperger to "find" more votes for him.

Warnock is the first Black Democrat to win a Senate seat in the South since Reconstruction. Ossoff, a 33-year-old Jewish filmmaker and investigative journalist, will be the youngest incoming Democratic senator since Biden in 1973.

"The future is bright. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for this victory," Ossoff tweeted on January 7.

In his victory speech, Warnock honored his mother, who had picked cotton in the Jim Crow South.

"The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator," the Baptist church pastor said. "The improbable journey that led to me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here."

It's been reported that the two Democrats are expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, the same day that Biden and Harris will be inaugurated. An Ossoff spokesperson told Newsweek that the swearing in is expected to occur in the afternoon once the Senate reconvenes.

"Georgia's voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: They want action on the crises we face and they want it right now," Biden said in a statement celebrating Ossoff's and Warnock's victories. "On COVID-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more. They want us to move, but move together."

jon ossoff raphael warnock wins certified
Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock greet each other during a Vote GA Blue concert on December 28, 2020, in Stonecrest, Georgia. Paras Griffin/Getty