In an historic night, Rev. Raphael Warnock was elected as the first Black U.S. senator from Georgia in the closely-watched runoff race against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
The pastor from Ebenezer Baptist Church, the same Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, is now heading to Washington to shake up a currently Republican-led Senate.
In a video address, Warnock thanked supporters and his mother, for making his American dream come true.
“The other day, because this is America, the 82–year–old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” Warnock said at the top of his speech about his mom.
“May my story be an inspiration to some young person who is trying to grasp and grab hold of the American dream,” he continued.
The Democrat also thanked voters for backing his candidacy.
“Georgia, I am honored by the faith you have shown in me,” he concluded. “I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.”
With Warnock’s win, the Democrats need one more seat to take control of the U.S. Senate. As of 3:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, the race between Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. David Perdue was too close to call. But many Democrats remained hopeful that Ossoff would win.
Meanwhile, athletes, actors, musicians, and other celebrities took to social media to celebrate after Warnock was officially declared the winner by the Associated Press and NBC.
T.I. posted on Twitter: “@ReverendWarnock declared victory. Georgia, you did it!!”
Former ESPN host and current The Atlantic contributor Jemele Hill noted how support from the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream helped raise Warnock’s profile: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Reverend Raphael Warnock was polling at 9% when the Atlanta Dream and WNBA players threw their full support behind him and elevated his national profile.”
Sen. Loeffler is currently a co-owner of the team.
Los Angeles Lakers star and political activist LeBron James shared a photo on Twitter of Atlanta Dream team members supporting Warnock before the polls closed, writing: “Think I’m gone put together an ownership group for The Dream. Who’s in?”
Watch Warnock’s victory speech below: