US election: Democrats seize control of Senate in dramatic power shift

·2-min read

The Democrats have seized control of the US Senate in a dramatic shift of power in Washington.

They have won two runoff senate races in the state of Georgia that were too close to call in the November elections.

Reverend Raphael Warnock becomes the first African American to be elected senator for the state.

He beat sitting Republican senator Kelly Loeffler and will be joined in the US Senate by Jon Ossoff who defeated Republican David Perdue.

Warnock is only the 11th African American to become a senator.

Both parties threw all they could at the contest with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden campaigning on behalf of the candidates and hundreds of millions of dollars spent by both campaigns.

At stake was years more political gridlock or a chance for the president-elect to usher in significant change.

If Republicans had won they could have blocked Joe Biden's legislative programme on issues like healthcare and the environment and they could have opposed his cabinet and judicial appointments.

It would likely have meant at least two more years of obstruction and stalemate in Washington.

Picking up Georgia's two seats means the Democrats have 50 senators each, the same as the Republicans.

However, as vice president, Kamala Harris will be able to cast a tiebreaking vote.

That should give Joe Biden the chance to bring about significant change in America.

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The results came as pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building as politicians were due to certify the results of the US election.

One person was shot and others injured and an improvised explosive device was found in the ground after people breached security at the building and gained access to the House and Senate chambers. Politicians were initially told to remain inside as the doors were locked, before being escorted to safety.

Donald Trump turned on his deputy, accusing Mike Pence of lacking "courage" after he said he would not intervene in the election result.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump repeated his claim that the election was stolen from him and called of Mr Pence to "do the right thing" and block the formal confirmation of Joe Biden's presidential win.