Democratic Sen Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday, December 6, securing a 51-seat majority in the US Senate for the Democrats.
Speaking to a crowd at his election party in Atlanta, Warnock said: “Let’s dance because we deserve it, but tomorrow we go back into the valley to do the work.”
Warnock’s supporters could be heard cheering and shouting “six more years” throughout the acceptance speech.
President Joe Biden tweeted that he called Warnock to congratulate him. “Here’s to six more years,” Biden said.
Walker conceded on Tuesday night, saying that he would never "stop fighting for Georgia.” Credit: Reverend Raphael Warnock via Storyful
- Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock!
[MUSIC - STEVIE WONDER, "HIGHER GROUND"]
People keep on learnin', Soldiers keep on warnin', World keep on turnin', 'Cause it won't be long--
["SIX MORE YEARS" CHANT]
RAPHAEL WARNOCK: Wow! Well, hello, everybody! [LAUGHS] Y'all settle down now. Just settle down. Thank you, Georgia. Thank you. I love you, too. All right, y'all, settle down.
I want to say thank you from--
--thank you from the bottom of my heart and to God be the glory--
--for the great things that God has done.
And after a hard-fought campaign, or should I say campaigns-- it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy-- the people have spoken.
I often say that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children. Voting is faith put into action. And Georgia, you have been praying with your lips and your legs--
--with your hands and your feet, your heads and your hearts. You have put in the hard work, and here we are standing together.
I want to say thank you. And I want to say-- I want to say thank you to my mother who is here tonight. You'll see her in a little while. But she grew up in the 1950s in Waycross, Georgia, picking somebody else's cotton and somebody else's tobacco. But tonight, she helped pick her youngest son to be a United States senator.
My dad has long passed into the light, but he is still very much with us. I watched my dad, a pastor and a small businessman, take care of his family by working really hard with his hands and using his brain. And he picked up old junk cars and loaded them on the back of a rig that the mechanisms of which he designed himself, one on top of the other. And that's how he took care of his family.
But on Sunday morning, the man who lifted broken cars lifted broken people--
--and convinced them of their value. I would not be here were it not for them. I am a proud son of Savannah, Georgia, a coastal city known for its verdant town squares and its cobblestone streets; tall, majestic oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss; bending back in the love of history and horticulture to this city by the seed. My roots, like the roots of those oak trees, go deep down into the soil of Savannah, and Waycross, and Scriven County, and Burke County. I am Georgia.
I am an example and an iteration of its history, of its pain and its promise of the brutality and the possibility. But because this is America and because we always have a path to make our country greater against unspeakable odds, here we stand together. Thank you, Georgia.
So I want to thank my mother and my late father. I want to thank my siblings who are here. I'm one of 12 in my family. Clearly, my folks read the Bible. Be fruitful and multiply. Our family was short on money but long on love, long on faith. And I want to thank my two darling children, Chloe and Caleb, who's brilliance and whose eyes inspired me to work for all of our children.
Georgia, I don't want you to miss what you've done. In a moment in which there were folk trying to divide our country-- and those forces are very much at work right now-- Georgia did an amazing thing. In 2021, it sent its first African-American Senator and its first Jewish Senator to the United States Senate in one fell swoop!
And you have done it again! Thank you, Georgia!
Now there are those who will look at the outcome of this race and say that-- yes, you're right. We won.
[CHEERING] But there are those who would look at the outcome of this race and say that there's no voter suppression in Georgia.
Let me be clear. Just because people endured long lines that wrapped around buildings some blocks long, just because they endured the rain and the cold and all kinds of tricks in order to vote doesn't mean that voter suppression does not exist. It simply means that you, the people, have decided that your voices will not be silenced.
Let us not forget that when we entered this runoff, a vestige of the ugly side of our complicated American story, the state official said that we couldn't vote on Saturday. But we sued them, and we won.
And the people once again rose up in a multiracial, multi-religious coalition of conscience. You endured the rain, you endured the long lines, and you voted. And you did it because you believe, as I do, that democracy is the political enactment of a spiritual idea. This notion that each of us has within us a spark of the divine, that we were created in the Imago Dei, in the image of God. And if you're not giving to that kind of religious language, that's fine. Our tent is big.
Simply put it this way, each of us has value. And if we have value, we ought to have a voice. And the way to have a voice is to have a vote to determine the direction of your country and your destiny within it. And so we stand here tonight on broad shoulders. Our ballot is a blood-stained ballot.
We stand here on the shoulders of the martyrs-- Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, two Jews and an African-American who lost their lives fighting for that great American to vote. Viola Liuzzo, and James Reeb, a white sister and a white brother who also lost their lives-- Fannie Lou Hamer, that indomitable Mississippi sharecropper-- and my parishioner, God bless his memory, John Lewis--
--who one day cross the bridge, knowing that there was danger on the other side. And yet, he crossed that bridge while building a bridge for the future. And now, it is on us, the latest generation of Americans and of Georgians, to keep building that bridge, to keep walking that long walk, pushing the nation towards our ideals.
And so, Georgia, this is my promise to you. The work that we must do is difficult. The issues are not simple. They're complex. But here's my promise to you. I will walk with you, even as I work for you. Because here is what I've learned as a pastor. You can't lead the people unless you love the people. You can't love the people unless you know the people. And you can't know the people unless you walk among the people. You cannot serve me if you cannot see me.
And so during these difficult days, even as I work on specific public policy proposals and I offer bills and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get those bills passed, I just want you to know that I see you. I see you, parents, as you're trying to put your kids through college, and through community college, and technical college. I see you, students, as you're trying to make a way out of no way.
I see you, essential workers, fighting for a livable wage to participate in the prosperity that you create for others; farmers, who are an answer to our most basic prayer, give us this day our daily bread, and yet they struggle to hold on to the farm. Farmers, I see you, and I'm here with you. And together, we can work through all of these issues.
And I want all of Georgia to know whether you voted for me or not--
[FEW AUDIENCE MEMBERS ANNOUNCE THAT THEY DID]
--I get it.
But I want all of Georgia to know, whether you voted for me or not, that every single day, I am going to keep working for you. I'm proud of the bipartisan work I've done, and I intend to do more because I actually believe that, at the end of the day, we are all Americans. I believe in that American covenant. E pluribus unum.
And it is that covenant that drives me to work to lower costs, lower the cost of prescription drugs to create jobs all across our state, to address the issue of criminal justice reform. Because I believe that you can have justice and safety at the same time. So thank you for this high honor. After a hard-fought campaign, you've got me for six more years.
["SIX MORE YEARS" CHANT]
Thank you. So let me quickly do a couple of things. I want to thank my amazing campaign staff led by Quentin Fulks. I want to thank my amazing Senate team led by Mark Libell and my state team led by Meredith Lilly.
I want to thank Lawrence Bell, who had a crazy idea that I should run for the Senate. I laughed, and here we are. And I want to thank the amazing people of Ebenezer Baptist Church, who, amidst the attacks, stuck with your pastor. Thank you, Ebenezer Church.
So let's celebrate for a little while on this mountain. Let's dance because we deserve it. But tomorrow, we go back down into the valley to do the work. I know that the days are still difficult. The times are dark, but the light, the scripture says, shines in the darkness, and the darkness overcomes it not. I'm ready to keep doing this work. I can hear my dad of blessed memory say, get up, get dressed, put your shoes on, get ready. Are you ready, Georgia?
I'm ready to stand up for workers, to stand up for women, to stand up for our children. I'm ready to build a stronger Georgia! God bless you, keep the faith, and keep looking up.