Rev. Raphael Warnock secures historic victory for Georgia

Warnock win a first for African-Americans
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 18:10:40-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Atlanta-based Rev. Raphael Warnock is now the senator-elect for Georgia.

The latest vote totals show Warnock took 51 percent of the vote, with Loeffler sitting at 49 percent. Jon Ossoff also the projected winner in his race against David Perdue.

This is the first time since 2000 that a Democrat in the Peach State will hold a seat in the US Senate.

Democrats in Lowndes County say this is one historic step for the state, but they're seeing a shift in the county that feels like even more doors will open up.

Warnock called his win stunning. He's the first African-American US Senator from Georgia.

Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from Georgia and will be the youngest sitting U.S. senator at age 33.

"We flipped a state and it took a lot of hands to do that," said Warnock.

Lowndes County Democratic Board Vice Chair Dennis Marks says the coordinated effort to get people to the polls is what made all the difference.

"I've never seen this much energy and coordination with the local Democratic Party, the state Democratic Party, the National Democratic Party, " said Marks.

Marks says the state and local Democratic party branches have worked to rebuild the party since 2006, and in that time, he has seen a blue shift.

"It's not just Atlanta and the metro area and Savannah that are blue. There is now a swarth of blue counties stretching across middle Georgia and moving to south Georgia. so It is very competitive," said Marks.

He says Valdosta is one of the southern counties seeing a cultural shift. That energy increased through the senate runoff. In November, Warnock brought in close to 8,000 votes in Lowndes County. By the runoff, Warnock gained 9,000 more votes.

Organizations like the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority also helped bring in more votes for Democratic candidates.

"People need to understand that things change based on a vote. The right to vote has been a struggle," said AKA organizer Toni Brandon.

Toni Brandon and other members of the sorority spent election day helping people get to the polls, even providing food for voters. Included in their effort, some education on the Warnock and Ossoff campaigns.

"If you don't elect someone who has a seat in the table, then all of us are on the menu," said Gladys Lee.

Lee says seeing an African American man elected to office shows her how far African-Americans have come.

"If you don't elect someone who has a seat in the table, then all of us are on the menu, " said Lee.

AKA member Vivian Miller-Cody says to her, the ability to empathize gained her support.

"If you have not walked in my shoes, you don't know what I've been through. What these two men showed me, even though they don't know what I've been through, they have an idea about what I've been without, " said Miller- Cody.

Warnock's term lasts only two years, but Ossoff has won a full six-year term in the Senate.