Democrat Raphael Warnock has unseated Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate election, NBC news projects.

The final votes are being counted in two key Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the US Senate and the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Mr Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff need to win both races to seize the Senate majority – and control of the new Congress when president-elect Joe Biden takes over.

A pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr preached, Mr Warnock is projected to defeat Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler by NBC news.

The 51-year-old will become the first black senator in Georgia’s history and his victory will be a symbol of a striking shift in the state’s politics.

Black voters made up approximately 30% of the electorate and almost all of them – 94% – backed Mr Ossoff and Mr Warnock.

Voters under 45 and those earning less than $50,000 also voted for the Democrats, as well as around 60% of recent arrivals – the force behind Atlanta’s sprawling growth.

It follows Mr Biden’s victory in November, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since 1992.

Mr Warnock’s win will also be a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who made one of his final trips in office to Georgia to rally his loyal base behind Ms Loeffler fellow Republican Mr Perdue.

The focus is now shifting to the second race between Mr Perdue and Democrat Mr Ossoff – with it still too early to call as votes were still being counted.

If 33-year-old Mr Ossoff wins, the Democrats will have complete control of Congress which will ultimately strengthen incoming president Mr Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office in two weeks.

In a message to his supporters on Wednesday, Mr Warnock referenced his family’s experience with poverty, saying his mother used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.

“The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

© 2021 Sky UK

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News – Georgia run-offs: Democrats on brink of taking Senate as preacher projected to unseat Republican