Democrats secure Senate majority with win in Georgia runoff
In a boost for Joe Biden, the Democrat party has secured an outright majority in the Senate after Raphael Warnock defeated his Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia's runoff election.
With Mr Warnock's victory, Democrats will have a 51-49 Senate majority for the rest of President Biden's current term, in what represents a blow for 2024 hopeful Donald Trump, who backed Mr Walker.
The win marks the end of an underwhelming midterm cycle for the GOP in the last major vote of the year.
The Republican party struggled to win with flawed candidates cast from former President Trump's mould.
Mr Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia, emphasised his willingness to work across the aisle and his personal values, buoyed by his status as senior pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.
"After a hard-fought campaign, it is my honour to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: the people have spoken," Mr Warnock told jubilant supporters who packed a downtown Atlanta hotel ballroom.
Mr Walker, an ally and friend of Trump, was unable to overcome damaging allegations, including claims that he paid for two former girlfriends' abortions despite supporting a national ban on the procedure.
"The numbers look like they're not going to add up," Mr Walker told supporters late on Tuesday at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.
"There's no excuses in life, and I'm not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight."
Democrats' new outright majority in the Senate means the party will no longer have to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Republicans and won't have to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris to break as many tie votes.
National Democrats celebrated the win, with President Biden tweeting a photo of his congratulatory phone call to the senator. "Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and... sent a good man back to the Senate," he tweeted, referencing Trump's "Make America great again" slogan.
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