Warnock, Ossof Win in Georgia Runoff Elections, Handing Senate Control to Democrats
Yesterday, Georgians went to the polls to cast their votes in two runoff elections that would determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. In both elections, the Democratic challenger beat the incumbent, flipping Senate control from Republicans, who have held the majority since 2015, to the Democrats. This means both the legislative and executive branches will be under Democratic control.
In the elections, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff defeated incumbent Senator David Perdue, who was first elected in 2014. And in a special election to serve out the remaining two years of Senator Jonny Isakson’s term, Reverend Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler. Isakson resigned at the end of 2019 and Loeffler was appointed to the seat, assuming office at the beginning of 2020. Both races went to runoffs after no candidate cleared the 50 percent threshold required to win outright in November.
With control of the Senate changing parties, the leadership of the U.S. Congress’ upper chamber will also change hands, including that of the committee chairs—particularly those impacting Native American financial services companies and economic development initiatives.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will become the chamber’s Majority Leader and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will become the Majority Whip. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is expected to assume the chair of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is expected to chair the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) could chair the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
Ossof and Warnock will be sworn in when the state of Georgia officially certifies its vote, which should happen by January 22.