Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock will win Republican candidate Herschel Walker high-stakes Georgia Senate runoff, projects Associated Press.
Although the Senate majority is already decided, Warnock’s victory in the latest showdown at the ballot box 2022 midterm elections giving Democrats a 51-49 advantage on the chamber floor and some respite in their razor-thin control of the Senate.
“Thank you, Georgia. We did it again,” Warnock tweeted shortly after his win was announced.
And in his victory speech, the senator noted that “after a difficult campaign, or rather a campaign, it is a great honor for me to speak the four most powerful words that have ever been spoken in a democracy – the people spoke.”
In his concession speech in Atlanta, Walker emphasized that “we’re putting up a hell of a fight.”
And Walker told his supporters that “I will never stop fighting for Georgia. I will never stop fighting for you.’
For the second cycle in a row, the final election battle took place in the crucial southeastern state of Georgia.
Two years ago, Democrats in Georgia’s two Senate rounds gave them a majority. This time, Warnock’s victory gives his party something it hasn’t had in the past two years — control of committees, making it easier for Democrats to advance legislation and nominate a Senate nominee.
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Former President Barack Obama leading a big rally for Warnock late last week asked “what’s the difference between 50 and 51?”
“A lot of answers,” Obama emphasized, answering his own question. “Let me sort it out for you. An extra senator gives Democrats more breathing room on important bills. It doesn’t allow one person to hold everything.”
And Walker emphasized in an interview with Fox News over the weekend that “by including me in the Senate, all the committees will be bloody.”
HIGH STAKES IN SECOND GEORGIA SENATE WALKER-WARNACK
In a fundraising email to fans, the former college and pro football star emphasized that “the results Georgia Senate runoff will — just like the last election cycle — have important national consequences.”
Two years ago, Warnock, the minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. and now-Sen. Jon Ossoff won the Georgia Senate runoff, handing the Senate majority to Democrats.
This year’s run-off was necessary after Warnock edged Walker by about 37,000 votes out of nearly 4 million votes cast. General election in November. However, since neither candidate received the 50% of the vote required to win under Georgia law, the race headed to a runoff.
According to state officials, nearly two million Georgians voted in early voting that ended Friday. Democrats aggressively pushed to get their supporters to the polls to give Warnock a head start Election day. Democrats pointed to early voting data showing high turnout in blue and congressional districts.
Walker and Republicans were hoping for a bigger turnout on Tuesday’s Election Day.
BIDEN AND TRUMP HELP WARNACK, WALKER NOT ENTER GEORGIA
Warnock, a ferocious fundraiser, was sharply ahead of Walker in the election campaign. And the senator and allied Democratic groups outspent Walker and outspent GOP groups by a roughly two-to-one margin to run ads during the monthlong debate.
Walker — a former college football legend who won the Heisman Trophy and led the University of Georgia to a national championship four decades ago — launched his Senate campaign last summer after months of lobbying to run. former president donald trump his old friend.
Thanks to his legendary status and immense and favorable publicity in the Peach State, Walker became an instant favorite for the GOP Senate nomination and virtually ignored a field of lesser-known contenders in the primary when he easily captured the GOP nomination in May.
However, Walker quickly came under fire when the general election began.
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Walker has been heavily criticized both on the campaign trail and in ads for what Democrats have called numerous “outrageous or false statements” and for numerous reports that he overstated the success of his business and success.
Even before he faced blistering allegations in September and October that he persuaded and paid for ex-girlfriends to have abortions — which Walker, who is an outspoken opponent of legalized abortion, has repeatedly denied — the candidate was forced to defend himself against a number of other personal controversies, from allegations of past abuse and threats against his first wife to acknowledging the children he fathered out of wedlock, which he has not previously mentioned publicly, despite decades of criticism of absent fathers.
Democrats once dominated elections in Georgia, but the Peach State was solidly red for the past two decades until President Biden nearly carried the state in the 2020 election, which Ossoff and Warnock won two months later in a Senate runoff.
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Still, Republicans swept this year’s state elections in Georgia, led by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp’s comfortable victory over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in a rematch of the 2018 showdown.