Joe Biden has been handed the keys to the kingdom by two Senators-elect in Georgia. One of them is a young man with very special ties to Australia.
Joe Biden has been handed the keys to the kingdom by two Senators-elect in Georgia. One of them is a young man with very special ties to Australia.

Democrats complete clean sweep of White House and Congress

Democrats have taken control of the US Senate, with millions of voters in two run-off races in Georgia delivering another rebuke to President Donald Trump.

Two months after Joe Biden won the White House and Democrats retained the House of Representatives, Republicans suffered the devastating loss of the Senate following one of the richest campaigns in history.

And it was a young man, Jon Ossoff, 33, with an Australian-born and bred mother who won the Senate race that handed the keys to the kingdom to Joe Biden.

His mum, Heather Fenton, who was born and raised in Sydney. She moved to the US when she was 23.

Senator-elect Jon Ossoff with his Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton. Picture: Twitter
Senator-elect Jon Ossoff with his Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton. Picture: Twitter

Incumbent Republican candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue were defeated in tight contests by Democrat challengers Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

The race was called on Wednesday afternoon local time for Mr Ossoff, 33, who is the son of an Australian woman and the first Jewish senator from Georgia.

Reverend Warnock, who was declared winner of his race last night, is the southern state's first black senator.

Jon Ossoff has strong links to Australia through his mother Heather Fenton, who was born nd raised in Sydney. She moved to the US when she was 23.

 

 

FIRST BLACK SENATOR-ELECT FROM GEORGIA 'HONOURED BY SUPPORT'

Democrat Raphael Warnock made history as he defeated one of Georgia's two Republican senators in a dramatic run-off election, putting Joe Biden's party in the box seat to gain full control of Congress.

Senator-elect Warnock, 51, a pastor who has for the past 15 years led the Atlanta church where the late Martin Luther King Jr preached, was declared the winner by Associated Press, CNN and Fox News late last night AEDT.

He becomes the first black senator from the traditionally pro-Republican state of Georgia.

 

 

The second race sees Democrat Jon Ossoff, who has strong links to Australia through his mother Heather Fenton, holding a slim lead over Republican John Purdue.

Mr Ossoff claimed victory Wednesday morning, although US media are still calling it "too close to call".

With 99 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Ossoff led with 50.2 per cent to 49.8 per cent for Sen Purdue.

"I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate, thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me," Mr Ossoff said in a video on YouTube.

Sen Perdue has yet to concede.

 

Jon Ossoff with Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton. The Mayor of the Inner West Council Darcy Byrne tweeted Heather is “a great Australian export”. Picture: Twitter
Jon Ossoff with Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton. The Mayor of the Inner West Council Darcy Byrne tweeted Heather is “a great Australian export”. Picture: Twitter

A victory for Mr Ossoff will give his party control of the White House, House of Representatives and the Senate, supercharging Joe Biden's policy agenda ambitions. If Senator Purdue can somehow eke out a victory, the Republicans will retain control of the Senate by the slimmest of margins.

With 99 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Ossoff led with 50.2 per cent to 49.8 per cent for Sen Purdue.

At 33, Mr Ossoff, whose mother Heather Fenton was born and raised in Sydney before moving to Georgia to settle at age 23, would become the youngest Senator in the US in decades.

Mayor of Sydney's Inner West Council Darcy Byrne tweeted that Heather Fenton is "a great Australian export".

Jon Ossoff, pictured with his mum Heather Fenton. Picture: Twitter
Jon Ossoff, pictured with his mum Heather Fenton. Picture: Twitter

 

US senate candidate Jon Ossoff posted this Mother's Day message on Facebook to his Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton . Picture: Facebook
US senate candidate Jon Ossoff posted this Mother's Day message on Facebook to his Australian-born and raised mother Heather Fenton . Picture: Facebook

Heather Fenton is founder of the US political action committee New Power PAC, which has a strong focus on boosting the number of women in political office in the state of Georgia.

Heather Fenton, Aussie-born and raised mum of Democratic senate hopeful Jon Ossoff, with former President Barack Obama. Picture: Facebook
Heather Fenton, Aussie-born and raised mum of Democratic senate hopeful Jon Ossoff, with former President Barack Obama. Picture: Facebook

Meanwhile, Senator-elect Rev Warnock said he had overcome many doubters to claim victory.

"Georgia, I am honoured by the faith that you have shown in me," Mr Warnock said.

"And I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election.

"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."

His opponent, Kelly Loeffler, has not yet conceded.

 

 

The vote count yo-yoed all night, with the Democrats taking an early lead which was overrun by the Republicans. But the Democrats inched back in front at the end of the night.

If the Republicans ultimately lose both contests and control of the senate, the result is likely to weaken President Donald Trump's grip of the party after he leaves the White House.

 

 

Republicans have been concerned for some time that his claims of widespread "voter fraud" could dampen the party's performance in the run-off elections in Georgia, which were required when no candidate achieved 50 per cent in the November elections.

 

The hard-fought run-off races have brought the international spotlight onto this southern state, nine weeks after the most tumultuous American election in two decades.

 

Democrats need both their candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, to prevail in order to snatch the Senate from the Republicans. Outgoing President Donald Trump's party needs either Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue to hold their seat to preserve its majority.

Earlier, Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar declared: "Georgia will make history again."

"Wow. I think we're gonna win," tweeted Rufus Gifford, a former ambassador who was deputy head of Biden's 2020 campaign.

 

It comes as Mr Trump confirmed he will address a rally of supporters Wednesday morning local time as part of a protest against the certification by Congress of the 2020 election results, which begins at 1pm local time.

"I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern (1600 GMT)," tweeted the Republican, who refuses to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

 

"Arrive early," Mr Trump urged - promising "BIG CROWDS!" at the site near the White House.

Earlier, a federal judge denied Trump's efforts to decertify Georgia's presidential election results.

The lawsuit, filed on New Year's Eve, claimed state had violated its Elections Code, due process and the electors and elections clauses by ignoring "express directions regarding the collection, handling, processing, canvassing and counting of" mail-in ballots, as well as "improper certification of elections."

District Court Judge Mark Cohen described the case as "beyond unprecedented" multiple times throughout the Tuesday (local time) hearing, and also labelled the president's motion "extraordinary".

 

 

 

TRUMP BACKERS PROTEST AS SENATE HANGS IN THE BALANCE

Hundreds of Donald Trump's supporters have amassed in Washington, a day ahead of a protest called by the outgoing US president who refuses to concede defeat in November's election.

Coming from all corners of America, the demonstrators said they had answered Trump's appeal to gather in the capital Wednesday local time, when the US Congress is expected to vote to finalise President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

"My commander-in-chief called me and my Lord and Savior told me" to come, said Debbie Lusk, 66, a retired accountant from Seattle.

"We either take our country back, or it is no more".

 

Mr Trump last month tweeted that supporters should head to Washington for what he promised would be a "wild" day of protests.

Large parts of the downtown area were boarded up, with shops and businesses shuttered by the virus and amid fears of a repeat of the violence that rocked the city during racial-justice protests last year.

At least 300 supporters had gathered by noon, and almost all of them were flouting Washington's mask-wearing order.

Several of them said the media had exaggerated the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 355,000 people in the US.

 

 

 

TRUMP REFUSES TO ACCEPT DEFEAT

It's been two months since the US presidential election but Trump and Biden have both been on the ground in Georgia this week arguing that the results could shape the country for years.

"If you don't show up, the radical Democrats will win," said Mr Trump at a rally in rural Dalton on Monday night.

 

Mr Biden said on the weekend: "Georgia, the whole nation is looking to you to lead us forward. One state can chart the course not just for the next four years but for a generation".

Mr Trump continues to dispute the results of the presidential election and the count in Georgia, which Republicans lost for the first time in decades and which has been through two hand re-counts of ballots.

 

 

 

 

He was recorded in a controversial phonemail over the weekend asking the state's Republican Governor and Secretary of State to "find" the almost 12,000 votes that would have given him Georgia.

"There's no way we lost Georgia," again said Mr Trump on Monday night.

 

 

The two run-off Senate races were called in Georgia after no candidates drew more than 50 per cent of the vote.

More than $US500 million was spent on what turned into one of the most expensive Senate races in history.

 

Over three million early ballots have been cast since early voting started in mid December.

The vote comes in an action packed week of US politics, with Congress set to certify the results of the November 3 presidential election on Wednesday, local time.

With Mr Trump still refusing to accept defeat in what he has repeatedly labelled a stolen election, Washington DC was bracing for clashes between attendees at "stop the steal" rallies and anti-Trump protesters.

 

"They're not going to take this White House," said Mr Trump on Monday night.

"We're going to fight like hell, I'll tell you right now."

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser warned the public to stay away from the downtown area, the National Guard was called out and every one of the city's police officers was rostered over the coming two days.

 

 

On Monday, the heavily armed leader of the far right Proud Boys movement was arrested in DC for burning a Black Lives Matter flag at a protest last month.

As the head of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to perform the usually ceremonial task of formally declaring Mr Biden the President-elect.

But he remains under pressure from his boss and has said he backs the challenges of Mr Trump and his Republican supporters in Congress.

"I know we all have got our doubts about the last election," Mr Pence said on Monday.

 

 

"I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you that come this Wednesday, we will have our day in Congress."

The Georgia race will decide whether Republican Mitch McConnell will remain Senate Majority Leader or whether he will lose control to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Democrats held the House of Representatives in November, although with a shrunken majority.

Republicans currently hold the Senate 50-48.

If Democrats win both of Tuesday's races then the Senate will be equally held 50-50 by both parties and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will hold the deciding vote after her inauguration alongside Mr Biden on January 20.

 

 

This would effectively give Democrats control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate, giving Joe Biden a virtually unfettered opportunity to implement and agenda the Republicans have branded as "radical socialism".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Democrats complete clean sweep of White House, Congress



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