Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock: As chaos erupts in the US Capitol, Democrats win control of the Senate
Democrats have won control of the US Senate after they secured victory in both runoff elections in the southern state of Georgia.
Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated the Republican incumbents in tight races won by less than a single percentage point.
Earlier today, Rev. Warnock, 51, beat Senator Kelly Loeffler, with 50.7 per cent of the vote, becoming the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from any southern state.
And moments ago, the second race - between Democrat Jon Ossoff and David Perdue - was called in Mr Ossoff’s favour.
With 98 per cent of the vote counted, the 33-year-old has secured 50.31 per cent.
Georgia’s runoff elections took on a special significance in November, when neither Republicans nor Democrats won enough seats to take control of the Senate.
Both parties have poured money into the state since then, with combined political advertising spending reaching an estimated $500,000,000 - an unprecedented figure.
Mr Ossoff’s late victory means the Democrats and Republicans are now tied on 50 Senate seats each, allowing Vice President Elect Kamala Harris the deciding vote when she takes office later this month.
The news will come as a huge relief to President Elect Joe Biden, whose ability to push his legislative agenda through the houses of Congress hung in the balance before the result.
The victory stands in stark contrast to events unfolding in Washington D.C., where pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building and plunged a joint session of Congress into chaos.
As votes were still being counted in Georgia, protesters over-ran police stationed outside the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence was acting in his ceremonial role as President of the Senate.
Senators and US Representatives had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber - and Mr Pence was taken by Secret Service agents to a secure location - part way through the process of certifying Mr Biden’s Electoral College victory.
A curfew is now in place across Washington D.C., and the Virginia National Guard has been mobilised to restore order.
The Capitol building is now back under the control the law-enforcement officers, according to US Officials.
The joint session, which has been held every four years since the United States was founded, is considered a political formality.
Reacting to the news, President Elect Joe Biden called the insurrection “an assault on the Citadel of Liberty” and called on President Trump to “step up”.
“The scenes of chaos of the Capitol, do not reflect a true America; do not represent who we are,” Mr Biden told the assembled press at the Queen’s Theatre in Delaware.
“What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.
“This is not dissent. This is disorder.”
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Moments after Mr Biden finished speaking, President Trump addressed the protesters in a video posted on Twitter, repeating unsubstantiated claims of election interference, but insisting they “have to go home now”.
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