Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) conceded Friday, a day after Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) did, both acknowledging that they lost fairly and declining to pull a Trump-like legal blitz to try to reverse the results.
“Although we won the general election, we came up just short of Georgia’s 50 percent rule, and now I want to congratulate the Democratic Party and my opponent for this runoff win,” Perdue said in a statement, declining to congratulate Senator-Elect Jon Ossoff (D-GA) by name. While he did finish ahead of Ossoff in the first round of voting, Perdue only would have “won” if he’d exceeded the 50 percent threshold.
The Ossoff campaign confirmed to TPM that Perdue did not call the senator-elect to congratulate him before issuing his concession statement.
Loeffler conceded in a YouTube video she published Thursday, saying that she had congratulated Senator-Elect Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and wished him well.
Neither Republican challenged their loss, both of which were outside Georgia’s recount margin. Perdue on Wednesday had promised to “mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are counted,” but has since backed down.
Warnock won his race by a greater margin than Ossoff did, and his race was called by the networks early Wednesday morning. Ossoff’s was called in the midst of the chaos as a pro-Trump mob invaded and vandalized the Capitol building Wednesday afternoon. Both candidates made history: Warnock as the first Black senator from Georgia, and Ossoff as its first Jewish senator. Ossoff will also be the youngest sitting senator since President-Elect Joe Biden was sworn in back in 1973.
The double-barrel Democratic win means that Democrats will have effective control over both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time in 11 years.
For Republicans, it means a reckoning with what went wrong. After President Donald Trump’s surprising 2016 victory, Republicans have lost the House, the White House, then the Senate in the span of four years. Biden’s win in Georgia ended a Democratic presidential drought there stretching back to 1992.
The Senate runoffs were still seen and polled as toss-ups, weighing Republicans’ history of runoff success there against Biden’s recent win, with the backdrop of the huge import of the two races. Many Republicans have turned the blame on Trump after the Democratic victories, pointing at his general lack of interest in promoting the Republicans in favor of attacking the state’s governor and secretary of state for refusing to help him overturn the “rigged” November election.