LIVE: Democrats Near Senate Control After Warnock Win in Georgia and Other Top Stories

(Jan. 6) Democrats’ hopes of taking control of the U.S. Senate received a huge boost early Wednesday after the party captured one seat in the Georgia runoff elections and waited on the outcome of another race that remained too close to call.

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To secure a narrow majority, Democrats need to win both Senate seats, which would split the chamber 50-50 between Republicans and the Democratic caucus, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.

Senate control, paired with the Democrats’ narrow majority in the House, would give Democratic President-elect Joe Biden full control of the U.S. government and allow him to implement major pieces of his agenda.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields rose past 1% for the first time since March and S&P 500 futures fell as traders evaluated the implications of a potential Democratic control of the Senate, such as additional fiscal stimulus and tax hikes. Nasdaq 100 futures tumbled, a sign of concern about the possibility of stepped up antitrust scrutiny of internet giants under a so-called “blue wave.”

Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler in one of the runoff races, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, making him the first Black senator in Georgia history.

Republican Senator David Perdue trailed Democrat Jon Ossoff by about 16,000 votes early Wednesday, with some of the outstanding votes coming from Democrat-heavy precincts. But it could take days to get the final tally, as 17,000 military and overseas ballots can still be counted as late as Friday. The narrow results will almost certainly spark legal challenges or recounts that also could delay a final determination of Senate control.

The uncertainty over the Senate comes as Congress meets in a joint session on Wednesday to count Electoral College votes that will ratify Biden’s win, even as President Donald Trump urged Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers to overturn the results based on baseless claims of a “rigged” election.

In Georgia, Republicans began pointing fingers at Trump for damaging their chances as they confronted the possibility that Democrats could win both races.

With Loeffler’s loss, Republicans must hold on to the other Georgia Senate seat to preserve their hold on the chamber and be able to thwart Biden’s agenda and cabinet nominees.

But GOP state officials were grim.

“From the numbers we’re looking at right now, it doesn’t look good for the two incumbent Republican senators,” said elections official Gabriel Sterling, a Republican.

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