Georgia Senator-Elects Make History


On January 6th, 2021, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock prevailed in one of the most closely watched senate elections in history. When news broke that the Georgia runoff elections would determine which party has power in the senate, the two became an unlikely pair when they joined forces to campaign as running mates. Their dramatically different backgrounds have inspired unity within progressive, working class Georgians, and their win marks the first democratic senators elected from Georgia since 2000. 

Senator Raphael Warnock. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

San Marcos History teacher Mr. Ohrn says, “What is interesting about Georgia is how it is becoming more like other states with growing urban populations where the rural areas and small towns generally vote Republican, but the urban areas vote Democratic.” He notes that this trend may not bode well for the right, saying, “I think this pattern will continue over the years and make it more difficult for the Republican party to win elections in more populated states.”

Reverend Raphael Warnock, a pastor from Savannah, Georgia, will be the first Black senator from Georgia, and only the 11th Black senator in history. He came into the public eye as an activist under the Obama administration when he campaigned for the expansion of medicare, and has consistently supported issues such as abortion rights and Gay marriage. His roots in low-income communities and religion have given him a unique connection with many Georgians that had previously been without a voice in government, and he seamlessly blended his devotion to God with his devotion to the people. Before his campaign for senate he chaired a program dedicated to increasing voter representation called the New Georgia Program, in addition to acting as Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

In contrast, Jon Ossoff began his political career as a journalist, documenting corruption in foreign countries. He, too, will make history in congress, being the first Jewish senator from Georgia, the youngest member of congress, and the first millennial senator. Ossoff has curated an extensive youth following, both with young Georgians and non-Georgians alike, and it seems that millennials and members of gen-z are inspired by a fresh face bringing issues to light that resonate with emerging political generations. In 2017 he broke fundraising records, raising a whopping $23 million, mainly from nationwide small donors. He advocates for the working class, with the first statement on his official campaign website stating that he aims to “rebuild this economy so working families and small businesses thrive, and to root out corruption so government serves the people — not private interests with legions of lobbyists.”

Senator Jon Ossoff on the campaign trail. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Freshman Grace Gambill says “I’ve been seeing a lot of Ossoff on social media, and I think that he really gives a voice to younger generations.” 

This monumental election represents the first time in 10 years that democrats will have both control of congress and the executive branch, but the left’s celebration was halted by pro-Trump riots on January 6th (the very same day Warnock and Ossoff were elected). This attack on the Capitol was unprecedented, and animosity between the parties is at an all time high. It’s hard to say if the Biden administration can unify the country, even with congress on their side, but the change that Warnock and Ossoff bring to the table is sure to shake things up.