Barack Obama congratulates Raphael Warnock on Senate victory

Tonya Pendleton

The former president and U.S. senator referenced the late John Lewis in the reverend’s historic win

There are very few African Americans who know what it’s like to be a US senator but former president Barack Obama is one of them. He ascended to the presidency after winning a historic Senate race in Illinois, becoming the fifth African American to ever become a senator in 2005.

Now, he’s congratulating Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock on his victory in the Georgia senate race. On Tuesday, Warnock won the contested runoff against his Republican opponent Kelly Loeffler who was named to the seat in 2019 by Georgia governor Brian Kemp.

On his Facebook page, Obama praised the pastor who earned his Senate seat with the help of the Black vote mobilized by activists and supporters. Stacey Abrams has been widely praised for her efforts in turning the state purple after voter suppression derailed her own campaign for Georgia governor in 2018.

Obama referenced the late Georgia congressman John Lewis in his letter to Warnock.

“My friend John Lewis is surely smiling down on his beloved Georgia this morning, as people across the state carried forward the baton that he and so many others passed down to them,” Obama began his congratulations.

He then acknowledged the voter turnoff and the tremendous efforts by Georgia’s citizens and the Black vote that propelled Warnock to victory.

Warnock Obama Georgia thegrio.com
Rev. Raphael Warnock is congratulated on his Senate victory by Barack Obama (Getty Images)

“I want to congratulate Reverend Raphael Warnock on his election as Georgia’s next U.S. Senator—and while we’re still waiting on final results in the other runoff, it’s clear that last night’s showing, alongside President-Elect Biden’s November victory in Georgia, is a testament to the power of the tireless and often unheralded work of grassroots organizing and the resilient, visionary leadership of Stacey Abrams. Georgia’s first Black senator will make the chamber more reflective of our country as a whole and open the door for a Congress that can forego gridlock for gridlock’s sake to focus instead on the many crises facing our nation—pandemic relief for struggling families, voting rights, protecting our planet, and more.”

Obama praised the people of Georgia but reminded Americans that vigilance would continue to be necessary to create a just America, especially as his former vice-president Joe Biden, comes to power as the nation’s 46th president on Jan. 20.

“Democrats in Georgia and across the country should feel good today. But the past four years show us that even outside of election season—and outside of races that garner national attention—we’ve got to remain engaged in civic life. From police reforms to gerrymandering decisions, many levers of real and lasting progress are found at the state and local levels, and further advancements depend on us vigilantly honoring the precious, sometimes fragile gift of the American experiment.”

Read Obama’s entire statement below:

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