Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, will be the first Black senator in Georgia’s history.
Early Wednesday, the Associated Press declared the 51-year-old Democrat the victor of the special runoff election against former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican whose term expired Sunday.
In a message, Warnock thanked the state of Georgia and its voters for his win, saying, “Tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work, and the people by our side, anything is possible.”
LIVE: Reverend Warnock Addresses Supporters on Election Night https://t.co/3AjHzC35qy— Senator-Elect Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) January 6, 2021
While appearing on “New Day” Wednesday morning, Warnock told CNN’s John Berman, “I am an iteration and an example of the American dream.”
“When I think about the arc of our history, what Georgia did last night is its own message in the midst of a moment in which so many people are trying to divide our country, at a time we can least afford to be divided."
In addition to Warnock being the state’s first Black Senator, CNN reports he is the first Georgia Democrat elected to the Senate in 20 years, and The New York Times reports he is the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the South.
As of this writing, Loeffler has yet to concede, telling supporters in a speech early Wednesday, “We have a path to victory, and we're staying on it."
WATCH: Sen. Loeffler delivers Georgia Senate runoff election night remarks. pic.twitter.com/PpdFljmRtg— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 6, 2021
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Warnock grew up in public housing as the eleventh of twelve children born to Verlene and Jonathan Warnock, both Pentecostal pastors.
After delivering his first sermon at age 11, Warnock graduated from Morehouse College, and went on to attend Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he also worked as a youth minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church.
In 2005, Warnock became the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former congregation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Because no Georgia senatorial candidate received a majority of the votes in either November election, two runoff elections had been scheduled for Tuesday. The races garnered intense national scrutiny, since two wins for Democrats would deliver them control of the Senate.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the AP reports that Democratic senatorial candidate Jon Ossoff is leading in his race against former Sen. David Perdue, a Republican whose term expired Sunday. While Ossoff’s lead is widely considered to be insurmountable, that race has yet to be called.