Democrat Jon Ossoff declares victory in Georgia run-off, paving way for Joe Biden to overturn Trump’s legacy of hate

Jon Ossoff in a suit speaks to reporters while supporters hold up signs

Democrat Jon Ossoff has declared victory in the Georgia election against Republican David Perdue, with news desks yet to officially call the result.

Against a rumbling Republican cabal to blindside Congress’ certification of president-elect Joe Biden’s victory and Donald Trump’s roiling claims of voter fraud, Ossoff made the announcement in a video posted to social media.

He said: “It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate.”

Ossoff, 33, claimed victory ahead of the tight, high-stakes race being officially called, but some projections have shown him with a 16,000 lead against Perdue.

Perdue, whose Senate term expired earlier this week, has not yet conceded the race.

“Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me,” Ossoff added in the video posted Wednesday (7 January).

Jon Ossoff claims victory in Georgia election, and it’s all thanks to Stacey Abrams

It comes hours after Democrat Raphael Warnock, a reverend of a storied Black church and LGBT+ ally, won a seat in the Senate over Kelly Loeffler.

The Republican incumbent had sought to restyle herself as a hard-line, gilet-wearing Trump loyalist to drum up support among disgruntled right-wing Georgians.

It failed. Instead, voters gave a clear repudiation of the billionaire Loeffler, who has both pushed for laws that would have erased trans youth and made thumping donations to an anti-LGBT+ adoption agency.

The Georgia election results are broadly acknowledged by community leaders as being made by Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Georgia Democratic activist Stacey Abrams has been credited with reviving the party's fortunes in the state through voter registration efforts

Georgia Democratic activist Stacey Abrams has been credited with reviving the party’s fortunes in the state through voter registration efforts. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

With her cavalcade of canvassers, volunteers and voting rights activists, she spearheaded a revered campaign to boost Democrat voter turnout in Georgia, once a reliably red state, that was a decade in the making.

Abrams quickly emerged throughout the 2020 presidential elections as one of the most influential politicians in America not in elected office with her temerity, resilience and unabashed support for LGBT+ rights.

Many political commentators have already floated the possibility of Abrams being made chair of the Democratic National Convention.

The Democrats have the Senate. What does this mean for LGBT+ rights?

If Osoff’s win is ratified, it means the Democrats effectively control the Senate, the upper house of Congress, with a 50-50 split that would be broken by Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

This would crucially give Joe Biden a better shot at passing a meaningful agenda in his first-term – including his pledge to finally make law the Equality Act which will transform LGBT+ rights.

Both Ossoff and Warnock have committed to voting in favour of the landmark legislation which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.

This also means that Republican Mitch McConnell’s six-year-long control of the Senate in the coveted majority leader post will come to an end – current minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York is expected to take over.

Mitch McConnell. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

It’s a powerful position in American politics, with the majority leader able to both create and block legislative votes, and it’s one to be soon held by Schumer, who has long opposed Trump’s anti-LGBT+ administration.

The Georgia results would allow Biden to more easily reverse many of Trump’s anti-LGBT+ federal policies as well as push a federal ban on conversion therapy and on the gay and trans “panic” defenses, among others, with fewer roadblocks.

Overturning Trump’s controversial ban on trans people serving in the US military is one Biden could leapfrog Congress altogether to achieve by using executive powers.