Barack Obama has praised Raphael Warnock following his election victory as Georgia’s next US senator.
The Democrat and pastor defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler to become the first Black senator in the state’s history.
It means the Democrats are now one step closer to controlling the Senate following the victory, with fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff’s also tipped for victory.
Two Senate seats were up for grabs in special run-offs, with overall control of the chamber for the next two years within the Democrats’ reach if they manage to win both elections and split the Senate 50-50.
Incoming Vice President Kamala Harris would then have the casting vote in the Senate, enabling President-elect Joe Biden to push through his agenda when he enters the White House on January 20.
Posting on Facebook, Obama wrote: “I want to congratulate Reverend Raphael Warnock on his election as Georgia’s next U.S. Senator – and while we’re still waiting on final results in the other runoff, it’s clear that last night’s showing, alongside President-Elect Biden’s November victory in Georgia, is a testament to the power of the tireless and often unheralded work of grassroots organising and the resilient, visionary leadership of Stacey Abrams.
My friend John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning, as people across the state carried…
“Georgia’s first Black senator will make the chamber more reflective of our country as a whole and open the door for a Congress that can forego gridlock for gridlock’s sake to focus instead on the many crises facing our nation – pandemic relief for struggling families, voting rights, protecting our planet, and more.”
He also pointed out that the democratic process has been “greatly tested” during Donald Trump‘s presidency over the last four years.
“In recent years, our institutions, our democracy, and truth itself have been greatly tested by those who’ve chosen to prioritise personal gain or political ambition over our democratic principles. And even a good election will not eliminate those threats.
“Yet we should also remember that in two weeks, we will inaugurate a new president. He will have a chance to work with a new Senate and House on the business of the American people.”