Raphael Warnock defeats Trump-loving millionaire senator and makes history

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Georgia just elected its first Black senator.

Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Tuesday's runoff election for one of Georgia's two U.S. Senate seats, according to multiple news outlets. Warnock will be the first Black senator to represent Georgia.

During the campaign, Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, formerly the pulpit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., highlighted his biography, talking about growing up in public housing in Savannah, relying on Pell Grants and student loans to pay for his Morehouse College education, earning a Ph.D., and being ordained a minister. His campaign focused on his support for affordable health care, rebuilding the economy, expanding voting rights, reforming criminal justice, and guaranteeing educational opportunities for everyone.

He was backed by former presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, President-elect Joe Biden, and 2016 Democratic Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.

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Loeffler, an extremely wealthy former financial services executive whose husband just became a billionaire, has done everything possible to present herself as a sycophant of and apologist for Donald Trump.

On Monday, Loeffler announced that she would join a dozen of her fellow Republican senators in supporting Trump's attempted coup by objecting to the certification of the Electoral College results on Wednesday. It will be one of her final acts as a senator.

Loeffler's campaign drew criticism both for her pandering to racists and for overtly racist attacks on Warnock.

Her web ads featured Trump using a racist term to describe the coronavirus as he praised her candidacy. She appeared on a program hosted by a prominent white supremacist; took a selfie with a prominent former Ku Klux Klan leader; recycled many of the racist tropes used against Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign; and frequently attacked Warnock for his religious beliefs, even criticizing him for quoting the Bible.

When she was called out for the attacks, she accused Warnock of "playing the victim" and asserted that she does not have "a racist bone" in her body.

Warnock dismissed the attacks against him, running lighthearted ads predicting that he would soon also be smeared as hating puppies.

Warnock won a plurality of the votes in the November special election for the seat. Because no candidate received a majority, he and Loeffler advanced to Tuesday's runoff.

Warnock will serve the final two years of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's term. The seat will be up for election again in November 2022.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.