ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock beat incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, The Associated Press called early Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, the balance of power in the U.S. Senate is still too early to call.
Democrats will hold at least 49 seats and Republicans will hold at least 50 seats.
Warnock will be the 11th Black Senator in 232 years and the first Black Democratic Senator ever elected from the South.
A pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, 51-year-old Warnock 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.”
Loeffler didn’t 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.”
The race between incumbent Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, has not yet been called. The results of that race will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.