Democrats have won both of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs.Democrat Raphael Warnock became the first Black senator in the state’s history, defeating Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. On Wednesday afternoon, Sen. David Perdue lost against Democrat Jon Ossoff, The Associated Press said. Democrats needed to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday to claim the Senate majority. With the two Democratic victories, the Senate will have a 50-50 seat split between the parties. But the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, and that will be Democrat Kamala Harris.If you don’t see results below, tap here. PHNjcmlwdCBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZWxlY3Rpb25zLmFwLm9yZy93aWRnZXRzL2pzL3Jlc2l6ZXIuY2xpZW50Lm1pbi5qcyIgdHlwZT0idGV4dC9qYXZhc2NyaXB0Ij48L3NjcmlwdD48aWZyYW1lIGlkPSJpZnJhbWVfODVhM2FmYjg0YThmYmY2NDYxZjU1YTBjYWJmZjE1ZTkiIHN0eWxlPSJvdmVyZmxvdzogaGlkZGVuOyBtaW4td2lkdGg6IDEwMCU7IGJvcmRlcjogbm9uZTsiIHNyYz0iaHR0cHM6Ly9lbGVjdGlvbnMuYXAub3JnL3dpZGdldHMvY29udGVudC84NWEzYWZiODRhOGZiZjY0NjFmNTVhMGNhYmZmMTVlOSIgd2lkdGg9IjEwMCUiIGhlaWdodD0iMTAwJSIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjEiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj0iYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuIiBvbmxvYWQ9ImlGcmFtZVJlc2l6ZSh7fSwgJyNpZnJhbWVfODVhM2FmYjg0YThmYmY2NDYxZjU1YTBjYWJmZjE1ZTknKTsiPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==Here’s the latest. All times in ET.8:27 p.m. WednesdayAt age 33, Democrat Jon Ossoff will assume his own leadership mantle after being one of two candidates to help the party sweep Georgia’s crucial U.S. Senate runoff elections, a victory that sealed Democrats’ control of the chamber. Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in the runoff that was held Tuesday after neither he nor Perdue received 50% of the vote in November.This is Ossoff’s first election to public office, and he will be the youngest member of the Senate. 4:35 p.m. WednesdayGeorgia’s largest county is stopping ballot processing and tabulation for the day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington.Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said Wednesday that tabulation in Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoffs was halted “out of an abundance of caution.”“We have also closed all of our offices in downtown Atlanta,” Corbitt said.The county’s elections director, Richard Barron, told the board of commissioners earlier Wednesday that the county had approximately 7,500 mail-in absentee ballots left to upload.News organizations, including the Associated Press, projected winners in the two races when they determined the losing candidates couldn’t overcome the result.4:18 p.m. WednesdayGeorgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has won his Senate runoff election.His victory gives Democrats control of the Senate for the opening of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency. Democrats needed to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday to claim the Senate majority.The 33-year-old Ossoff defeated 71-year-old Republican David Perdue, who held the seat for the past six years and had the strong support of President Donald Trump.Trump had called on Georgia Republicans to swarm to the polls for the Republican Senate candidates even as he warned, without evidence, of the prospect of widespread voter fraud.Biden held his own rally Monday to urge his coalition to turn out for Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist.In the other race, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.With the two Democratic victories, the Senate will have a 50-50 seat split between the parties. But the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, and that will be Democrat Kamala Harris.Democrats already control the House, and adding the Senate will make it more difficult for Republicans to block Biden’s agenda, along with his Cabinet picks and judicial nominations.3:30 p.m. WednesdayGeorgia’s secretary of state and his staff have evacuated their offices at the state Capitol as armed protesters gathered outside.Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official, said Wednesday that it was an internal decision made by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to have his team leave.“We saw stuff happening at the Georgia Capitol and said we should not be around here, we should not be a spark,” Sterling told The Associated Press.About 100 protesters gathered at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump’s election loss. Some were armed with long guns.Trump has focused much of his ire on Raffensperger in the weeks following his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia by about 12,000 votes.1:05 p.m. Wednesday As of 1 p.m., the Chatham County Board of Elections had processed nearly 33,000 absentee-by-mail ballots out of the 34,576 received from voter registration, according to sister station WJCL. Another delivery is scheduled for this afternoon of roughly 4,000 ballots. Election officials say they expect to complete all remaining ballots received by end of business Wednesday.12:55 p.m. Wednesday During a rally Wednesday, President Donald Trump seemed to acknowledge Republicans losses in the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia before admitting his own defeat in the state on Nov. 3.Trump used a rally of supporters in Washington to rail against what he described as “weak Republicans,” but singled out Loeffler and Perdue for praise. Trump said “they fought a good race, never had a shot.”Warnock beat Loeffler on Tuesday, becoming the first Black senator in his state’s history. And while Ossoff is holding onto his lead over Perdue, it’s too early to call that race. At the rally, Trump complained that it was a mistake for Congress to move forward with a $600 check for most Americans as part of a COVID-19 relief package, instead of his preferred $2,000 in aid.Ossoff and Warnock emphasized in the final days of the Senate races that their victories would allow a Democrat-run Senate to provide $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans.Trump says of the $2,000 checks: “No. 1, it’s the right thing to do, but how does that play politically? I think it’s the primary reason, one of the primary reasons,” for Tuesday’s results.11:30 a.m. Wednesday President-elect Joe Biden responded to a Democratic victory in at least one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoffs as part of “a resounding message,” as well as good news for his agenda.Biden in a statement Wednesday congratulated Rev. Raphael Warnock on his “groundbreaking win” over Republican Kelly Loeffler, noting he was “hopeful” that fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff would also win his race.Biden, the first Democrat in decades to win Georgia’s electoral votes, campaigned several times for the Senate candidates, whose performances affect his legislative agenda’s success. Ossoff held a small lead over Republican David Perdue as of Wednesday morning, though it was too early to call the race. Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.9 a.m. WednesdayAlthough the race is still too close to call, Ossoff declared victory over Perdue Wednesday morning. The Associated Press has not yet called the race. With 98% of the votes counted, Ossoff leads Perdue by roughly 16,000 votes. Watch Ossoff’s video remarks above. His comments were as follows:“Good morning. It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate. Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.”At this moment of crisis, as COVID-19 continues to ravage our state and our country, when hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, millions have lost livelihoods, Georgia families are having difficulty putting food on the table — fearing foreclosure or eviction, having difficulty making ends meet — let’s unite now to beat this virus and rush economic relief to the people of our state and to the American people.“I will work in the U.S. Senate to support a robust public health response so that we can defeat this virus, putting Georgia’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the lead, trusting medical expertise, doctors, and scientists to bring the tools to bear, the technology to bear, the ingenuity to bear, and the resources to bear necessary to stop the spread of this virus to defeat it and to get our daily lives back — and to rush direct economic relief to people who need help right now.“This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state — for all the people of this state. And they will be my guiding principles, as I serve this state in the U.S. Senate, ensuring that every Georgian has great health care, no matter our wealth, ensuring that we invest in an economic recovery that includes all communities, that rebuilds our state’s infrastructure, that lays the foundations for prosperity in rural Georgia, suburban communities, and urban communities alike, and securing equal justice for all, following in the footsteps of leaders who have departed us in this last year like Congressman John Lewis and C.T. Vivian.“I want to thank the people of Georgia for participating in this election, everybody who cast your ballot, everybody who put your faith and confidence in our democracy’s capacity to deliver the representation that we deserve, whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.“I will give everything I’ve got to ensuring that Georgia’s interests are represented in the U.S. Senate. I want to thank all the volunteers who poured their hearts and souls into this campaign.“I want to thank my family for their support and their patience. I want to thank my wonderful wife Alisha, who as we speak is at the hospital, helping Georgia mothers deliver healthy babies, helping save lives.“Let’s emulate the spirit of courage and heroism of those who have given so much to the health response to this crisis, as we unite as a people, to overcome this challenge of COVID-19, and to build a republic that lives up to our highest ideals of equality in God’s eyes and equal justice under the law. Georgia, thank you so much for the confidence that you’ve placed in me.“I am honored — honored — by your support, by your confidence, by your trust, and I will look forward to serving you in the United States Senate with integrity, with humility, with honor and getting things done for the people of Georgia. Thank you so much.”7 a.m. WednesdayThe race between incumbent Perdue and Ossoff is too early to call.As of 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Ossoff had a lead of 9,527 votes out of nearly 4.4 million counted, or a margin of less than 0.2 percentage points.There were still some mail ballots and in-person early votes left to be counted statewide, the majority of which are in Democratic-leaning counties. Video below: Georgia Senate vote count stretches into Wednesday5:20 a.m. WednesdayOvernight Wednesday, Republican David Perdue released a statement on Twitter, saying, “As we’ve said repeatedly over the last several weeks and as recently as this evening, this is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard. We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted. We believe in the end Senator Perdue will be victorious.”Ossoff currently leads Perdue, but the race hasn’t yet been called.If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete, but narrow, control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20. 4 a.m. WednesdayWarnock’s victory is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South. It follows Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.Warnock, 51, acknowledged his improbable victory in a message to supporters early Wednesday, citing his family’s experience with poverty. His mother, he said, used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.“The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up to his lead. Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas. Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight.“We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” insisted Loeffler, a 50-year-old former businesswoman who was appointed to the Senate less than a year ago by the state’s governor.Loeffler, who remains a Georgia senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, said she would return to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory.“We are going to keep fighting for you,” Loeffler said, “This is about protecting the American dream.”Georgia’s other runoff election pitted Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired on Sunday, against Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist. At just 33 years old, Ossoff would be the Senate’s youngest member.Trump’s false claims of voter fraud cast a dark shadow over the runoff elections, which were held only because no candidate hit the 50% threshold in the general election. He attacked the state’s election chief on the eve of the election and raised the prospect that some votes might not be counted even as votes were being cast Tuesday afternoon.Republican state officials on the ground reported no significant problems.This week’s elections mark the formal finale to the turbulent 2020 election season more than two months after the rest of the nation finished voting. The unusually high stakes transformed Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the final days of Trump’s presidency — and likely beyond.Both contests tested whether the political coalition that fueled Biden’s November victory was an anti-Trump anomaly or part of a new electoral landscape. To win in Tuesday’s elections — and in the future — Democrats needed strong African American support.Drawing on his popularity with Black voters, among other groups, Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes out of 5 million cast in November.Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, while meritless, resonated with Republican voters in Georgia. About 7 in 10 agreed with his false assertion that Biden was not the legitimately elected president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,600 voters in the runoff elections.Election officials across the country, including the Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed that there was no widespread fraud in the November election. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, where three Trump-nominated justices preside.Even with Trump’s claims, voters in both parties were drawn to the polls because of the high stakes. AP VoteCast found that 6 in 10 Georgia voters say Senate party control was the most important factor in their vote.Even before Tuesday, Georgia had shattered its turnout record for a runoff with more than 3 million votes by mail or during in-person advance voting in December. Including Tuesday’s vote, more people ultimately cast ballots in the runoffs than voted in Georgia’s 2016 presidential election.In Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, 37-year-old Kari Callaghan said she voted “all Democrat” on Tuesday, an experience that was new for her.“I’ve always been Republican, but I’ve been pretty disgusted by Trump and just the way the Republicans are working,” she said. “I feel like for the Republican candidates to still stand there with Trump and campaign with Trump feels pretty rotten. This isn’t the conservative values that I grew up with.”But 56-year-old Will James said he voted “straight GOP.”He said he was concerned by the Republican candidates’ recent support of Trump’s challenges of the presidential election results in Georgia, “but it didn’t really change the reasons I voted.”“I believe in balance of power, and I don’t want either party to have a referendum, basically,” he said.

Democrats have won both of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs.

Democrat Raphael Warnock became the first Black senator in the state’s history, defeating Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Sen. David Perdue lost against Democrat Jon Ossoff, The Associated Press said.

Democrats needed to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday to claim the Senate majority.

With the two Democratic victories, the Senate will have a 50-50 seat split between the parties. But the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, and that will be Democrat Kamala Harris.

If you don’t see results below, tap here.

Here’s the latest. All times in ET.

8:27 p.m. Wednesday

At age 33, Democrat Jon Ossoff will assume his own leadership mantle after being one of two candidates to help the party sweep Georgia’s crucial U.S. Senate runoff elections, a victory that sealed Democrats’ control of the chamber. Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in the runoff that was held Tuesday after neither he nor Perdue received 50% of the vote in November.

This is Ossoff’s first election to public office, and he will be the youngest member of the Senate.

4:35 p.m. Wednesday

Georgia’s largest county is stopping ballot processing and tabulation for the day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said Wednesday that tabulation in Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoffs was halted “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We have also closed all of our offices in downtown Atlanta,” Corbitt said.

The county’s elections director, Richard Barron, told the board of commissioners earlier Wednesday that the county had approximately 7,500 mail-in absentee ballots left to upload.

News organizations, including the Associated Press, projected winners in the two races when they determined the losing candidates couldn’t overcome the result.

4:18 p.m. Wednesday

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has won his Senate runoff election.

His victory gives Democrats control of the Senate for the opening of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency. Democrats needed to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday to claim the Senate majority.

The 33-year-old Ossoff defeated 71-year-old Republican David Perdue, who held the seat for the past six years and had the strong support of President Donald Trump.

Trump had called on Georgia Republicans to swarm to the polls for the Republican Senate candidates even as he warned, without evidence, of the prospect of widespread voter fraud.

Biden held his own rally Monday to urge his coalition to turn out for Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist.

In the other race, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

With the two Democratic victories, the Senate will have a 50-50 seat split between the parties. But the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, and that will be Democrat Kamala Harris.

Democrats already control the House, and adding the Senate will make it more difficult for Republicans to block Biden’s agenda, along with his Cabinet picks and judicial nominations.

3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Georgia’s secretary of state and his staff have evacuated their offices at the state Capitol as armed protesters gathered outside.

Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official, said Wednesday that it was an internal decision made by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to have his team leave.

“We saw stuff happening at the Georgia Capitol and said we should not be around here, we should not be a spark,” Sterling told The Associated Press.

About 100 protesters gathered at the state Capitol in Atlanta on Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump’s election loss. Some were armed with long guns.

Trump has focused much of his ire on Raffensperger in the weeks following his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia by about 12,000 votes.

1:05 p.m. Wednesday

As of 1 p.m., the Chatham County Board of Elections had processed nearly 33,000 absentee-by-mail ballots out of the 34,576 received from voter registration, according to sister station WJCL. Another delivery is scheduled for this afternoon of roughly 4,000 ballots. Election officials say they expect to complete all remaining ballots received by end of business Wednesday.

12:55 p.m. Wednesday

During a rally Wednesday, President Donald Trump seemed to acknowledge Republicans losses in the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia before admitting his own defeat in the state on Nov. 3.

Trump used a rally of supporters in Washington to rail against what he described as “weak Republicans,” but singled out Loeffler and Perdue for praise. Trump said “they fought a good race, never had a shot.”

Warnock beat Loeffler on Tuesday, becoming the first Black senator in his state’s history. And while Ossoff is holding onto his lead over Perdue, it’s too early to call that race.

At the rally, Trump complained that it was a mistake for Congress to move forward with a $600 check for most Americans as part of a COVID-19 relief package, instead of his preferred $2,000 in aid.

Ossoff and Warnock emphasized in the final days of the Senate races that their victories would allow a Democrat-run Senate to provide $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans.

Trump says of the $2,000 checks: “No. 1, it’s the right thing to do, but how does that play politically? I think it’s the primary reason, one of the primary reasons,” for Tuesday’s results.

11:30 a.m. Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden responded to a Democratic victory in at least one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoffs as part of “a resounding message,” as well as good news for his agenda.

Biden in a statement Wednesday congratulated Rev. Raphael Warnock on his “groundbreaking win” over Republican Kelly Loeffler, noting he was “hopeful” that fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff would also win his race.

Biden, the first Democrat in decades to win Georgia’s electoral votes, campaigned several times for the Senate candidates, whose performances affect his legislative agenda’s success.

Ossoff held a small lead over Republican David Perdue as of Wednesday morning, though it was too early to call the race. Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.

9 a.m. Wednesday

Although the race is still too close to call, Ossoff declared victory over Perdue Wednesday morning. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.

With 98% of the votes counted, Ossoff leads Perdue by roughly 16,000 votes.

Watch Ossoff’s video remarks above. His comments were as follows:

“Good morning. It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate. Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.

“At this moment of crisis, as COVID-19 continues to ravage our state and our country, when hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, millions have lost livelihoods, Georgia families are having difficulty putting food on the table — fearing foreclosure or eviction, having difficulty making ends meet — let’s unite now to beat this virus and rush economic relief to the people of our state and to the American people.

“I will work in the U.S. Senate to support a robust public health response so that we can defeat this virus, putting Georgia’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the lead, trusting medical expertise, doctors, and scientists to bring the tools to bear, the technology to bear, the ingenuity to bear, and the resources to bear necessary to stop the spread of this virus to defeat it and to get our daily lives back — and to rush direct economic relief to people who need help right now.

“This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state — for all the people of this state. And they will be my guiding principles, as I serve this state in the U.S. Senate, ensuring that every Georgian has great health care, no matter our wealth, ensuring that we invest in an economic recovery that includes all communities, that rebuilds our state’s infrastructure, that lays the foundations for prosperity in rural Georgia, suburban communities, and urban communities alike, and securing equal justice for all, following in the footsteps of leaders who have departed us in this last year like Congressman John Lewis and C.T. Vivian.

“I want to thank the people of Georgia for participating in this election, everybody who cast your ballot, everybody who put your faith and confidence in our democracy’s capacity to deliver the representation that we deserve, whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.

“I will give everything I’ve got to ensuring that Georgia’s interests are represented in the U.S. Senate. I want to thank all the volunteers who poured their hearts and souls into this campaign.

“I want to thank my family for their support and their patience. I want to thank my wonderful wife Alisha, who as we speak is at the hospital, helping Georgia mothers deliver healthy babies, helping save lives.

“Let’s emulate the spirit of courage and heroism of those who have given so much to the health response to this crisis, as we unite as a people, to overcome this challenge of COVID-19, and to build a republic that lives up to our highest ideals of equality in God’s eyes and equal justice under the law. Georgia, thank you so much for the confidence that you’ve placed in me.

“I am honored — honored — by your support, by your confidence, by your trust, and I will look forward to serving you in the United States Senate with integrity, with humility, with honor and getting things done for the people of Georgia. Thank you so much.”

7 a.m. Wednesday

The race between incumbent Perdue and Ossoff is too early to call.

As of 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, Ossoff had a lead of 9,527 votes out of nearly 4.4 million counted, or a margin of less than 0.2 percentage points.

There were still some mail ballots and in-person early votes left to be counted statewide, the majority of which are in Democratic-leaning counties.

Video below: Georgia Senate vote count stretches into Wednesday


5:20 a.m. Wednesday

Overnight Wednesday, Republican David Perdue released a statement on Twitter, saying, “As we’ve said repeatedly over the last several weeks and as recently as this evening, this is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard. We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted. We believe in the end Senator Perdue will be victorious.”

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Ossoff currently leads Perdue, but the race hasn’t yet been called.

If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete, but narrow, control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20.

4 a.m. Wednesday

Warnock’s victory is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South. It follows Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

Warnock, 51, acknowledged his improbable victory in a message to supporters early Wednesday, citing his family’s experience with poverty. His mother, he said, used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.

“The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up to his lead. Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas.

Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight.

“We’ve got some work to do here. This is a game of inches. We’re going to win this election,” insisted Loeffler, a 50-year-old former businesswoman who was appointed to the Senate less than a year ago by the state’s governor.

Loeffler, who remains a Georgia senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, said she would return to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory.

“We are going to keep fighting for you,” Loeffler said, “This is about protecting the American dream.”

Georgia’s other runoff election pitted Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired on Sunday, against Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist. At just 33 years old, Ossoff would be the Senate’s youngest member.

Trump’s false claims of voter fraud cast a dark shadow over the runoff elections, which were held only because no candidate hit the 50% threshold in the general election. He attacked the state’s election chief on the eve of the election and raised the prospect that some votes might not be counted even as votes were being cast Tuesday afternoon.

Republican state officials on the ground reported no significant problems.

This week’s elections mark the formal finale to the turbulent 2020 election season more than two months after the rest of the nation finished voting. The unusually high stakes transformed Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the final days of Trump’s presidency — and likely beyond.

Both contests tested whether the political coalition that fueled Biden’s November victory was an anti-Trump anomaly or part of a new electoral landscape. To win in Tuesday’s elections — and in the future — Democrats needed strong African American support.

Drawing on his popularity with Black voters, among other groups, Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes out of 5 million cast in November.

Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, while meritless, resonated with Republican voters in Georgia. About 7 in 10 agreed with his false assertion that Biden was not the legitimately elected president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,600 voters in the runoff elections.

Election officials across the country, including the Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed that there was no widespread fraud in the November election. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, where three Trump-nominated justices preside.

Even with Trump’s claims, voters in both parties were drawn to the polls because of the high stakes. AP VoteCast found that 6 in 10 Georgia voters say Senate party control was the most important factor in their vote.

Even before Tuesday, Georgia had shattered its turnout record for a runoff with more than 3 million votes by mail or during in-person advance voting in December. Including Tuesday’s vote, more people ultimately cast ballots in the runoffs than voted in Georgia’s 2016 presidential election.

In Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, 37-year-old Kari Callaghan said she voted “all Democrat” on Tuesday, an experience that was new for her.

“I’ve always been Republican, but I’ve been pretty disgusted by Trump and just the way the Republicans are working,” she said. “I feel like for the Republican candidates to still stand there with Trump and campaign with Trump feels pretty rotten. This isn’t the conservative values that I grew up with.”

But 56-year-old Will James said he voted “straight GOP.”

He said he was concerned by the Republican candidates’ recent support of Trump’s challenges of the presidential election results in Georgia, “but it didn’t really change the reasons I voted.”

“I believe in balance of power, and I don’t want either party to have a referendum, basically,” he said.

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