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Rabu, 06 Januari 2021

Georgia run-offs LIVE updates: Democrats on brink of Senate control; Joe Biden's US election win to be ratified; Donald Trump to speak at rally - The Sydney Morning Herald

Summary

  • Democrats are within reach of seizing control of the US Senate after Democrat Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in the Senate run-off in Georgia.
  • In the other run-off contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff is tied with Republican Senator David Perdue on 50 per cent of the vote each.
  • If both Warnock and Ossoff win, the Senate will be tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris able to cast a tie-breaking vote.
  • On Thursday (AEDT), the US Congress will meet to certify Joe Biden's victory in the November election, with more than 100 Republican congress members vowing to object to the results in several states.
  • President Donald Trump has urged his supporters to gather in the capital for a massive protest, raising fears of violence in Washington.
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Ossoff claims a win, but race is too early to call

US Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is claiming victory in his race against Republican David Perdue, thanking Georgians for "electing me to serve you".

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race between Ossoff and Perdue, which is too early to call.

Ossoff made the comments early on Thursday (AEDT) in a speech on social media, which you can watch below. He said the campaign has been about health, jobs and justice for Georgians.

He added that he intends to serve all people in the state.

Georgia’s two Senate run-off elections will decide control of the US Senate. In the other race, the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler.

AP

Latest updates

Romney says Trump 'disgraced the office of the presidency'

Republican Senator Mitt Romney says President Donald Trump’s election challenge has "disgraced the office of the presidency".

Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill ahead of Wednesday’s joint session to confirm Joe Biden’s Electoral College win that he was certain of the outcome.

“I’m confident that we’ll proceed as the Constitution demands and tell our supporters the truth – whether or not they want to hear it,” Romney said.

Senator Mitt Romney arrives at the US Capitol on Wednesday.

Senator Mitt Romney arrives at the US Capitol on Wednesday.Credit:Bloomberg

Republicans are picking up Trump’s demands to challenge the results from several states. But they are not expected to have enough votes in Congress to change the results. Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.

Romney said: “President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonoured the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency”.

He called the “gambit” of the challenges in Congress “very disappointing”.

The US Congress will meet from 1pm local time (5am AEDT) to certify Biden's victory, with more than 100 Republican congress members vowing to object to the results in several states.

AP

Hillary Clinton's response to the Georgia run-offs

One person who is watching the Georgia run-off with great enthusiasm is former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

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Republicans begin to blame Trump for poor performance

Even before the race between John Ossoff and David Perdue was called, Republicans were already beginning to blame President Donald Trump for the party's poor performance.

Some Republicans say his futile, baseless effort to challenge his own loss in November bitterly divided the party and undercut candidates, who were trying to portray a Republican Senate majority as a firewall against Democratic power.

"The President effectively eliminated the most potent Republican argument by refusing to acknowledge he lost in November," said Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who described the mood of the Republican Party now as "boiling".

Holmes said Republicans' embrace of Trump-era conspiracy theories had especially hurt the party among suburban voters.

LA Times

Trump pressures powerless Pence ahead of electoral count

By Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller

President Donald Trump has tightened the screws on his most loyal soldier, trying to pressure Vice-President Mike Pence to use powers he does not have to overturn the will of voters in a desperate and futile bid to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over the congressional tally of Electoral College votes, bearing witness to the formality of the Trump-Pence team's defeat.

Beginning at 1pm on Wednesday local time (5am AEDT), Pence's role is to open the certificates of the electoral votes from each state and present them to the appointed “tellers” from the House and Senate in alphabetical order. At the end of the count, Pence, seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, has the task of announcing who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice-president.

Despite his largely ceremonial assignment, Pence is under intense pressure from the President and legions of supporters who want the Vice-President to use the moment to overturn the will of the voters in a handful of battleground states.

“All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!"

Pence has no such unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and states’ electors were chosen in accordance with state law, not fraudulently.

"We’ve fought on every front on legally viable methods that are based on the Constitution of the United States. We don’t want anarchy here, folks,” said lawyer Jay Sekulow, who represented Trump during his impeachment, on his radio show on Tuesday. Sekulow dismissed the notion that Pence could act to overturn the vote. “Elections have consequences,” Sekulow said.

Pence told Trump during their weekly lunch in the West Wing on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to unilaterally overturn electoral votes, according to a person briefed on the one-on-one conversation. This person was not authorised to publicly discuss the private discussion, which was first reported by The New York Times, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

AP

Trump supporters rally near White House awaiting President

Thousands of people are gathering outside the White House to show their support for President Donald Trump, who continues to make baseless claims of election fraud.

Trump is expected to address his supporters in a few hours during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

Protesters gather in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Protesters gather in Washington DC on Wednesday.Credit:AP

People began lining up before sunrise on Wednesday morning, local time, for a chance to attend the event.

Organisers are planning an afternoon march to the Capitol, where Congress will be voting to affirm the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute.

A number of prominent Trump supporters are expected to attend the protest events, which began on Tuesday, local time, with a rally at Freedom Plaza near the White House. They include Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton and long-time Trump ally Roger Stone, the recipient of a pardon by the President.

Trump tweeted his support for the protesters: “Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office."

The rallies had local officials and law enforcement bracing for potential violent street clashes. Many businesses in downtown Washington boarded up their windows, fearful that the protest could devolve into the unrest seen in May and June when dozens of businesses were vandalised.

AP

'I can't wait to get to work,' Warnock says after win

Hours after winning one of Georgia’s high-stakes run-offs, the Reverend Raphael Warnock says people in his state “are feeling a sense of hope this morning”.

Speaking in a round of morning television interviews, Warnock noted that he grew up in public housing as one of 12 children and was the first in his family to attend college.

He said his victory “pushes against the grain of so many expectations, but this is America and I want some young person who’s watching this to know anything’s possible”.

Georgia is now in “an incredible place when you think of the arc of our history,” he said.

“This is the reversal of the old southern strategy that sought to divide people,” Warnock said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“In this moment we’ve got to bring people together to do the hard work and I look forward to doing that.”

He told NBC’s Today that “we can ill-afford to be divided. And I hope to be the pastor among peers in the United States Senate to appeal to the better angels of our nature and to remind us that Dr King was right, we’re tied of a single garment of destiny.”

Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler.

The other race for the US Senate in Georgia – that one between incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff – remained too early to call early on Thursday AEDT.

AP

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Ossoff claims a win, but race is too early to call

US Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is claiming victory in his race against Republican David Perdue, thanking Georgians for "electing me to serve you".

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race between Ossoff and Perdue, which is too early to call.

Ossoff made the comments early on Thursday (AEDT) in a speech on social media, which you can watch below. He said the campaign has been about health, jobs and justice for Georgians.

He added that he intends to serve all people in the state.

Georgia’s two Senate run-off elections will decide control of the US Senate. In the other race, the Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler.

AP

Ossoff holds narrow lead over Perdue in second Georgia race

Georgia’s other run-off election pits Republican Senator David Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired on Sunday, against Democrat Jon Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist. At just 33 years old, Ossoff would be the Senate’s youngest member.

Ossoff has a narrow lead, but it is too early to call a winner.

With 98 per cent of votes in and counting mostly stopped overnight, Ossoff led Perdue by more than 16,000 votes, or 0.4 percentage points, just shy of the state's 0.5 per cent threshold to avoid a recount.

Georgia senate candidates Jon Ossoff, left, and David Perdue.

Georgia senate candidates Jon Ossoff, left, and David Perdue.

Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.

If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on January 20.

Winning both contests would give Democrats control of the Senate, creating a 50-50 split and giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote once she and Biden take office on January 20. The party already has a narrow majority in the US House of Representatives.

If Republicans hold the second seat, they would effectively wield veto power over Biden's political and judicial appointees as well as many of his legislative initiatives in areas such as economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, healthcare and criminal justice.

Warnock makes history with Senate win

In the first of the two Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated leading Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.

Ahead by around 35,000 votes or one percentage point by the early hours of the morning, Warnock claimed victory in a video message, saying: "We were told that we couldn’t win this election.

"But tonight we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible."

The Democrats' Reverend Raphael Warnock claimed victory against the Republicans' Kelly Loeffler.

The Democrats' Reverend Raphael Warnock claimed victory against the Republicans' Kelly Loeffler.Credit:

Warnock, a 51-year-old Baptist preacher from the historic church of Martin Luther King Jr, will become the first black senator in the history of the deep South state.

He acknowledged his improbable victory in his video message, 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.”

The result was a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who made one of his final trips in office to Georgia to rally his loyal base behind Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue.

The Associated Press declared Warnock the winner after an analysis of outstanding votes showed there was no way for Loeffler to catch up to his lead. Warnock’s edge is likely to grow as more ballots are counted, many of which were in Democratic-leaning areas.

Loeffler refused to concede in a brief message to supporters shortly after midnight, local time.

“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.

With AP

Democrats take first of two Georgia seats

By Megan Levy

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of what's set to be another big day in US politics.

Democrats are now within reach of seizing control of the US Senate and dramatically boosting President-elect Joe Biden's hopes of implementing his policy agenda after taking the first of two crucial Senate contests in Georgia, while the second remains on a knife-edge.

In the first of the two seats, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated leading Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.

In the other Senate run-off contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff was tied with Republican Senator David Perdue on 50 per cent of the vote each. We'll bring you that result as soon as it is projected.

On Thursday (AEDT), the US Congress also will meet to certify Joe Biden's victory in the November presidential election, with more than 100 Republican congress-members vowing to object to the results in several states.

President Donald Trump has also urged his supporters to gather in Washington DC for a massive protest today, raising fears of violence there. There is no prospect that Biden's victory will be overturned by the Congress and he is set to be inaugurated as the 46th US president on January 20.

Stick with us and we'll bring you the latest news as it happens.

The contenders, from left: Kelly Loeffler, Raphael Warnock, David Perdue, Jon Ossoff.

The contenders, from left: Kelly Loeffler, Raphael Warnock, David Perdue, Jon Ossoff.Credit:

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2021-01-06 16:01:00Z
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