Jon Ossoff has defeated Sen. David Perdue, securing his seat in the U.S. Senate for six years and Democratic control of Congress for the next two years.
The Associated Press called the race shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Ossoff declared victory in a video statement Wednesday morning.
“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,” he said.
Together with Rev. Raphael Warnock, who defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Ossoff will bring the Senate to a 50-50 party split, with tie-breaking votes going to the Vice President, who will be Democrat Kamala Harris. That’s welcome news for President-elect Joe Biden, who faced the prospect of having his agenda blocked by a Republican Congress had either Democrat lost.
Neither Perdue nor Loeffler has conceded.
With nearly all of the votes counted Wednesday afternoon, Ossoff held onto a lead of more than 17,000 votes. Wednesday morning Georgia’s election manager said he expects the lead to hold when remaining votes are counted.
Perdue, a wealthy businessman, won his seat in 2014 running as a fiscal conservative. He has drawn criticism for alleged insider trading and for echoing baseless conspiracy theories that President Donald Trump had the election stolen from him.
Ossoff, an Atlanta native, will be Georgia’s first Jewish senator and, at 33, the youngest senator since President-elect Joe Biden was elected in 1973.
Ossoff interned with the late civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis and served as Congressional aide to Rep. Hank Johnson before a stint as an investigative journalist and CEO of London-based Insight TWI. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and the London School of Economics. He is married to Dr. Alisha Kramer.
Ossoff entered the national spotlight in 2017 when he narrowly lost to former Rep. Karen Handel in a bid to replace Republican Rep. Tom Price after Trump tapped Price to lead the U.S. Health Department.
Perdue’s campaign tried to paint Ossoff as a radical leftist who wants to defund the police and abolish private health care, policies Ossoff has not supported.
In his Wednesday victory statement., Ossoff called for unity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.
“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,” he said.