Last week, Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock beat Republican incumbents David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first Democrats elected to the Senate from Georgia in two decades. The wins also upset the Republican majority in the Senate, making it a 50-50 tie and giving soon to be Vice President Kamala Harris the tie breaking vote.
The wins come as a shock to the political world. Georgia has been a Republican strong hold for a long time. However, in the 2020 Presidential Election Democrats won Georgia’s electoral votes—signaling a change of heart in Georgia’s voters.
The recent wins are indicative of a changing demographic makeup in the South, according to the New York Times. Urban and suburban voters tend to lean more progressive than rural voters. And as small towns continue to disappear all across the country, this migration to the city could account for the changing political consciousness.
Of course, there were many other factors at work in last week’s victories. And as the dust settles, many Democrats are attributing the upset to the high turn out of Black voters in the region, according to CNN. People are crediting this high turn out to Stacey Abrams, who worked tirelessly in the past few months to get out the vote and organize Democrats in the state of Georgia. Her relentless organizing paid off in Joe Biden’s slim victory over Donald Trump back in November, beating the Republican incumbent by less than 12,000 votes—according to the Financial Times.
President Trump was involved in both Sen. Loeffler and Sen. Purdue’s campaigns. Upon hearing about the losses, he promptly tweeted that the election was rigged, without offering any evidence. Sen. Loeffler appeared to be an ardent supporter of the president throughout her brief stint in the Senate. She continued to back the president’s fraudulent election claims until the Capitol Riots on Jan. 6th. According to the New York Times, these claims of election fraud likely hurt the Republican Senate race, discouraging Republicans from voting and emboldening others who might not otherwise have voted.
With the wins in Georgia Democrats have now secured all three branches of government, diminishing the GOP’s power— at least for the next couple of years.