Sen. Raphael Warnock won the Georgia runoff election Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker to retain his seat.
But Warnock fended off the former pro football player in one of the most-watched races of the 2022 midterm elections. He celebrated his victory Tuesday evening.
“After a hard fought campaign, or should I say campaigns, it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy – the people have spoken," he told supporters Tuesday evening.
With Warnock's win, Democrats expand their majority in the Senate to 51-49, which could mean additional committee seats and less worry for President Joe Biden that Democratic centrists Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia could hinder his priorities.
Here's what to you need to know about Sen. Raphael Warnock:
Who is Sen. Raphael Warnock?
Raphael Warnock, 53, was first elected to Congress in 2020 after winning a special election runoff to fill a vacant seat. He defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler for the seat by just two percentage points.
Born in Savannah, Ga., the senator has served as a pastor for over 16 years at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former church of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What you need to know:Georgia's Senate runoff between Warnock and Walker nears.
Warnock holds numerous committee assignments including Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science and Transportation; the Special Committee on Aging and the Joint Economic Committee.
What are his stances on key issues?
Warnock has dubbed himself a "pro-choice pastor," according to his campaign website, and has criticized the Supreme Court for overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
“The women of Georgia deserve a Senator who will stand with them,” he said during the sole debate against Walker. “I trust women more than I trust politicians.”
The Democrat has emphasized the need to fight for criminal justice reform measures while funding the police. He has highlighted the importance of focusing on relationships between police departments and communities.
Warnock is an advocate for Medicaid expansion and capping the cost of insulin and prescriptions.
“Health care is a human right,” he said.
Warnock believes access to education shouldn't depend on zip codes and has advocated to lower the cost of higher education, saying during a debate, “I wouldn't be standing here tonight if it weren't for low interest student loans and Pell grants."
He has also fought for student loan forgiveness.
“I pushed the president to do student debt relief," Warnock said. "He did $10,000 and with my urging, he did $20,000 for folks with Pell Grants."
How much has Warnock raised?
The senate race in Georgia is the most expensive race of the midterm season, according to OpenSecrets.
USA TODAY found Super PACs spent nearly $16 million more on Warnock than on Walker. During the runoff, super PACs spent around $40 million supporting Warnock, compared to the approximately $24 million spent backing his Republican challenger.
The money is mainly being used for TV ads and online communications.
In the leadup to Election Day, Warnock's campaign brought in over $26 million from July to the end of September.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Raphael Warnock? What to know about Georgia senator