Community members react to Ossoff and Warnock’s Senate wins


Community members shared their hopes for what the swearing in of Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossof could bring.

Alexandra Levy, Staff Writer

Friends Seminary students shared their reactions to the results of the Senate runoff in Georgia. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock flipped both of the state’s senate seats and were sworn in this past month, handing Democrats control of the senate for the first time in a decade. 

Asher Yellen ʼ23 explained that he had been watching MSNBC on his breaks from classes as votes were counted – anxiously awaiting the results.

“I normally wouldn’t watch this type of thing,” Yellen said. “But this race was important because it meant control of the Senate.” 

Yellen was pleased with the results of the runoffs, especially after a long day of refreshing his page to see the vote count.

“I kept checking the results to see how Ossoff and Warnock were doing,” Yellen said. “When I went to bed it was really close, but Ossoff was losing. So when I woke up and it said he won, I was ecstatic.”

Alexa Kayman ʼ24 expressed that she was particularly nervous because the Democrats had to secure both seats to attain senate majority. The Republicans needed only one. 

“I was honestly shocked,” Kayman said. “I didn’t think that we would get both of them. I thought we would only get Warnock, and not Ossoff. 

Kayman was especially happy with the results because she had phone-banked – calling early voters in the state of Georgia and helping them register to vote – for Ossoff and Warnock.

“We were trying to maximize youth turnout,” Kayman said. “But surprisingly a lot of people, specifically younger people, didn’t understand the importance [of the runoffs], and didn’t know they had to vote again. But, I ended up being thrilled with the amount of youth turnout.”

Eli Sidman, Upper School science teacher, was also shocked at the results. He said that – after what he described as a difficult year – he had expected to be let down once again.

“I was surprised,” Sidman said. “That was my first instinct. A lot of bad things have happened over the course of many years, so when something that can be construed as even a little good occurs, it’s surprising. We have been accustomed to not-so-great stuff for a while”.

Sidman was also watching the elections closely and spent most of the day discussing the runoffs with his friends.

“I have a group chat with all of my friends,” Sidman said. “We are constantly messaging each other about the general election, and then about Georgia. Every time someone got some new news that hadn’t been shared yet it was shared. We were monitoring it closely all day, hitting refresh on the New York Times page repeatedly.”

While Anya Juneja ʼ22 was pleased with the results of the runoff,  they thought the events surrounding the Capital made it hard to rejoice.

“I was really happy,” Juneja said. “However, it was kind of overshadowed by the coup that happened the next day, and the unrest in the capital.”

Juneja still said they were optimistic that a Democratic senate would help Biden pass beneficial policies.

“Having a Republican Senate majority would have made it very hard for Biden to pass policy and legislation changes through congress,” Juneja said. “[A Democrat senate] is going to make way for a lot more Democratic party legislation to take effect. I really do think it will lead to some good policy changes.”

Asher Yellen ʼ23 said the runoff results made him hopeful for a progressive shift in Southern politics, pointing to Democratic wins in Georgia runoffs and presidential election.

“1992 was the last time Georgia went blue,” Asher said. “This is no longer the Georgia of our grandfathers. It is now changing to a more liberal state.”

Alexa Kayman ʼ24 believes that bills passed under the new senate can have a lasting influence.

“Democratic laws that would normally get rejected by the Republican party can now pass, securing a progressive future,” she said.