Georgia election leads to 50/50 split in Senate

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Photo by MIKE STOLL on Unsplash

On January 5th, 2021, the state of Georgia held two Senate runoff elections, which led to the first 50/50 split of the Senate since 2001.

After the election on November 3rd, the two Senate seats from Georgia remained vacant. The first one remained vacant because no candidate received a 50% or more majority of votes, which is required to win an election according to Georgia law. The second seat was left vacant because former Republican Senator Johnny Isakson retired.

The first election was between incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. The special election, whose winner will fill Senator Isakson’s seat, is between Republican candidate Kelly Loeffler and Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock.

On January 6th, the results were announced with Ossoff winning the election by 41,303 votes or about 0.92%, and Warnock, now the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Georgia, winning the special election by 79,291 votes or about 1.8%.

Following these two wins for Democrats, there are now 50 Republican and 50 Democratic Senators. Since there is not a simple majority of Senators, there are no rules for deciding a majority leader. When this happened in 2001, however, Vice President Dick Cheney’s political party became the majority party. Mainly due to the fact that the Vice President, who will soon be Kamala Harris, will be a tiebreaker if a vote would come to that point.

On January 20th when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, the Executive Branch and both houses of Congress will be led by the Democratic Party. According to The Wall Street Journal, confirming nominees will be an advantage of the new White House because a Democratic majority in the House and Senate will allow for more “coordination” between Congresspeople and the president.

On January 7th, following the announcement of his win, Senator-Elect Ossoff published a statement to his followers on Twitter.

“I humbly thank the people of Georgia who have entrusted me with the representation of our great state in the U.S. Senate,” Ossoff said on Twitter, continuing on to say that better days are coming.

Senator-Elect Warnock also shared a message with his Twitter followers on Twitter yesterday, thanking Georgia for electing him.

“The four most powerful words in a Democracy: The People Have Spoken. Thank you, Georgia. Now it’s time to get to work,” Warnock said on Twitter, going on to say that he is grateful for Georgia helping him make history.

At the current time, there is no set date for swearing in Warnock and Ossoff to the Senate, but it will be after January 15th, which is how long each county in Georgia has to certify their election.