Democrats Take Control of Senate After Georgia Flips Blue


Aidan Lewis '21, News Editor

The Democratic Party has regained control of the Senate for the first time since 2010 after Democrats Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbents in Georgia. Both Georgia senate seats went to run-off elections after candidates had failed to reach 50 percent of the vote in the November 3 election, a rule required under Georgia law. 

As with the presidential election, small rural counties voted largely for Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue while Warnock and Ossoff were bolstered largely by urban areas, including the Atlanta metropolitan area. In Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous county which includes Atlanta, both Warnock and Ossoff received over 70 percent of the vote. In the presidential election, Biden received 72.6 percent of the vote in Fulton County. The two Democrat victories give each party 50 senators, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaker vote. 

In addition, Warnock made history by becoming Georgia’s first black U.S. Senator. For the last fifteen years, Rev. Warnock has served as the Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. 

At Saint Patrick High School, students and teachers paid close attention to the Democratic victories in the Georgia run-offs. “First, a Democrat-controlled Senate all but guarantees that Mr. Biden’s cabinet nominees will be confirmed,” explained Saint Patrick history teacher Mr. Dan O’Leary. “Additionally, with the Democrats in control of the Senate, Mr. Biden’s policy initiatives such as reforms on health care, climate change and additional economic recovery measures due to COVID-19 have a stronger chance to become law earlier in his term.”

Saint Patrick senior Seamus Courtney explained how he felt a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and Senate will impact Joe Biden’s presidency: “With the control, President-elect Biden should have tools needed to create the change that our country needs and he has promised.”

A Democrat-controlled Senate may also be able to eliminate the filibuster, which has been commonplace in the Senate. “The filibuster does serve to protect the minority power and some Democratic Senators are sensitive to the fact they could very well be back as the minority power by the next election cycle,” said Mr. O’Leary. “In my opinion, there is no denying the fact that the filibuster is an odd and perhaps outdated rule of the Senate. I believe the best course of action would be to implement some reforms and modifications in how and to what length a filibuster can be enacted.” 

Courtney believes that eliminating the filibuster completely is necessary for legislation to be passed. “Change is something that has been put on the back burners for too long in our country and eliminating the filibuster will not only benefit our  country but it will make our government much more efficient.” 

Both Senator-elects will have to wait until the election results are certified later this month before being sworn in. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20.