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Raphael Warnock Has Defeated Herschel Walker In The Georgia Runoff, Giving Democrats 51 Seats In The Senate

Sen. Raphael Warnock has once again kept Georgia blue in a special runoff Senate election.

The Democrat defeated Republican former football star Herschel Walker in Tuesday’s runoff, giving Warnock a full six-year term following the other runoff election he won just last year. The 2021 election made Warnock the first Black senator elected to represent Georgia, and now, he’s the first to do so for a full term.

With 98% of results reported, Warnock had 51.31% of the vote to Walker’s 48.69%. Decision Desk HQ called the race for Warnock at 9:48 p.m. ET.

“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,” Warnock told supporters at his Atlanta victory party.

His win ensures Democrats will have 51 seats in the next Senate, maintaining control of that chamber despite the House of Representatives narrowly flipping to Republicans. The victory further underscores the surprising strength of Democrats’ performance in the midterm elections, which are typically punishing for the party in the White House.

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It also adds fuel to criticisms of former president Donald Trump, who had endorsed Walker and whose picks for candidates in key races across the country largely flopped.

Tuesday’s runoff was necessary because under Georgia law, neither candidate managed to achieve over 50% of the vote in the midterm. When the ballots were counted, Warnock had about 49.44% of the vote to Walker’s 48.49%. With more than 3.9 million ballots cast, less than 40,000 votes separated the pair in November.

But this runoff was not like the last one.

In January 2021, Warnock’s defeat of Republican Kelly Loeffler helped ensure the Senate would be narrowly controlled by Democrats in the first two years of the Biden administration.

But following a historically strong showing in the midterms by Biden’s party that turned a much-hyped Republican “red wave” into more of a ripple, Democrats managed to keep control of the Senate thanks to wins in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada.

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Still, retaining Warnock’s seat remained important to give Democrats some room to breathe in the Senate and also to increase their odds of holding onto the chamber in 2024.

There were signs of some GOP strength during the midterms in Georgia, where voters comfortably reelected Republican Brian Kemp as governor, dashing Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams’s hopes once again following her loss to Kemp in 2018.

But despite both being Republicans, Kemp and Walker were not exactly peas in a pod. While Trump had endorsed Walker as part of his MAGA movement, the former president had previously directed his ire at Kemp for refusing to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in 2020.



David Mack

Published: 2022-12-08 17:45:16

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