Election projections based on Associated Press data.
Democrats on Tuesday won the runoff vote for the US Senate seat in the southern state of Georgia.
The victory gives Democrats a 51-49 majority in the upper house of the US Congress. Had they lost the Georgia seat, the Senate would have been split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris' vote as the tie-breaker.
Both Democrats and Republicans saw the high stakes in this race, as Georgia is also expected to play a major role in the next presidential election — as it did in 2020.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock defeated his Republican challenger, former American football star Herschel Walker.
The two Black candidates failed to gain a majority in the November 8 midterm vote, although Warnock led Walker by about 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast.
Warnock hails outcome
"It is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: the people have spoken," Warnock said in his victory speech.
Warnock became Georgia's first Black senator in January 2021. The 53-year-old holds a doctorate in theology.
He continued to hold his position as the senior minister of the Atlanta church where civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
"I often say that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children. Voting is faith put into action," he said late Tuesday.
Walker, 60, was backed by former President Donald Trump.
He is a former football star, and is considered one of the best players in the history of US college football.
In his concession speech, Walker told his supporters, "The numbers look like they're not going to add up."
"There's no excuses in life and I'm not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight," he said at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.
With $400 million (€382 million) spent on campaigning, the Georgia vote was the most expensive in the 2022 midterms.
According to their disclosures, Warnock's campaign spent about $170 million on the campaign, while Walker's spending was at around $60 million. Further spending on the race was made by the Democratic and Republican party committees, as well as other political groups.
US President Joe Biden's government is set to face hurdles in pursuing policies with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
But a clear Democratic majority in the Senate gives the president an edge.
Georgia, a traditionally Republican state, was the scene of dramatic runoffs in 2020. The state also voted for Biden in the last election, making him the first Democrat to win Georgia's vote in decades.
A Democrat win also solidifies Georgia's status as a battleground heading into the 2024 presidential vote, while a victory for Republicans could be an indication of Democratic weakness.
fb/rs (AP, Reuters)
Correction, December 7, 2022: A previous version of this article contained an incorrect breakdown of the seats in the US Senate. The Democrats have secured a majority with a 51-49 majority. This has now been corrected. We apologize for the error.