Obama says John Lewis is ‘smiling down’ on Georgia as he congratulates Warnock for his Senate win

 Former President Barack Obama speaks during a drive in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.
Former President Barack Obama speaks during a drive in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

Former President Barack Obama memorialized late US Representative John Lewis in a statement congratulating Reverend Raphael Warnock on his Georgia Special Senate Runoff Election win against Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler on Tuesday night.

"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 wrote in a statement published on his social media. "I want to congratulate Reverend Raphael Warnock on his election as Georgia's next US 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."

Lewis, who died in July, was a civil rights icon who served in the House of Representatives from Georgia for more than three decades.

Months before his death, Lewis endorsed Warnock, saying he was a "champion for years in the struggle for voting rights, economic justice, and access to health care for families all across our state."

John Lewis
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of confirmation hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) nomination to be U.S. attorney general in Washington, U.S., January 11, 2017.

Obama, too, endorsed Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who also won his Georgia Special Senate Runoff Election race, against incumbent Sen. David Perdue.

In the days before Tuesday's election, Obama had encouraged people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.

In his statement on Wednesday, Obama said Democrats around the country "should feel good today," and urged people to "remain engaged in civic life."

Warnock and Ossoff
Democratic candidate for Senate Jon Ossoff, right, and Democratic candidate for Senate Raphael G Warnock, left, arrive before they speak to a crowd during a "Get Out the Early Vote" event at the SluttyVegan ATL restaurant on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Jonesboro, Ga.

"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," he said. "In recent years, our institutions, our democracy, and truth itself have been greatly tested by those who've chosen to prioritize personal gain or political ambition over our democratic principles. And even a good election will not eliminate those threats."

Obama also celebrated President-elect Joe Biden's win, saying that in two weeks when Biden takes office, he'll be working with a new Senate and House.

"If we want to protect the gains we've made, achieve even more progress in the years to come, and reinforce the foundations of self-governance on which our country rests, there's no better path to follow than the one forged by the determined, organized, and confidently hopeful people of Georgia," he said.

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