Georgia election runoff: Live updates on Senate race


ATLANTA (AP) — Voters in Georgia will decide Tuesday on the country’s final Senate racechoosing between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker after a four-week runoff that has drawn a deluge of outside spending into an increasingly personal fight.

This year’s second round has less stakes than the two in 2021, when victories from Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff gave the Democrats control of the Senate. But it’s still important: The outcome will determine whether the Democrats have an outright 51-49 Senate majority or control a 50-50 chamber based on Vice President Kamala Harris’ casting vote.

Cold, rainy conditions greeted voters in the Atlanta area. Queues formed at an elementary school in suburban Johns Creek before the polls opened, but voters later moved quickly, undeterred by the weather.

Stephanie Jackson Ali, policy director for the progressive New Georgia Project Action Fund, said the group had seen few problems in the state. Lines progressed and equipment issues were quickly addressed, she said.

The second round ends a bitter battle between Warnock, the state’s first black senator, and the senior minister of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and Walker, a former football star and political novice from the University of Georgia who campaigned in support of former President Donald Trump.

A victory in Warnock would solidify Georgia’s status as a battleground heading into the 2024 presidential election. However, a win for Walker could be an indication of Democratic weakness, especially given that Georgia Republicans won every other game nationwide last month.

In the November election, Warnock led Walker by about 37,000 votes of nearly 4 million, but failed to secure a majority, triggering the second round of voting. About 1.9 million second votes have already been cast by mail and early voting, benefiting Democrats whose voters are more likely to vote this way. Republicans tend to do better when they vote on Election Day.

Last month, the 60-year-old Walker garnered more than 200,000 votes behind Republican Governor Brian Kemp after a campaign dogged by his meandering campaign speeches and damaging allegations, including claims that he paid for abortions of two ex-girlfriends – allegations Walker has denied .

Atlanta voter Tom Callaway praised the strength of the Republican Party in Georgia and said he had supported Kemp in the first round of voting. But he cast his vote for Warnock on Tuesday because he didn’t think “Herschel Walker has the credentials to be a senator.”

“I didn’t believe he had a statement of what he really believed in or a campaign that made sense,” Callaway said.

Warnock, whose 2021 victory came in a special election to serve out the remainder of GOP Senator Johnny Isakson’s term, says he has convinced enough voters, including independents and moderate Republicans, that he deserves a full term.

“I think they’re going to do well on this,” the 53-year-old senator said Monday. “They know this race is about competence and character.”

Walker campaigned with his wife, Julie, on Monday, greeting and thanking supporters instead of his usual campaign speech and attacks on Warnock.

“I love you all, and we are going to win this election,” he said at an Ellijay winery, likening the election to his athletic success. “I like winning championships.

Warnock’s campaign spent about $170 million on the campaign, much more than Walker’s nearly $60 million, according to their latest federal disclosures. Democratic and Republican party committees, along with other political action committees, have spent even more.

The senator has combined his dualism with an emphasis on personal values, bolstered by his status as senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. However, starting with the final piece before the November 8 general election, Warnock added scathing takedowns of Walker, using the football star’s rocky past to argue that the political newcomer was “not ready” and “not fit” for a high position.

Walker, who used his athletic prominence to get to the GOP nomination, has tried to portray Warnock as a yes nod to President Joe Biden. He has sometimes made the attack in particularly personal terms, accusing Warnock of “being on his knees, begging” at the White House — a scorching accusation for a black challenger to speak to a black senator about his relationship with a white president.

Walker, a multi-millionaire businessman, has blown up his philanthropic activities and business achievements, including the claim that his company employed hundreds of people and generated tens of millions of dollars in sales annually, even though later records show he had eight employees and averaged about $1.5 million a year. He has suggested he worked as a law enforcement officer and said he graduated from college, though he did neither.

Walker also had to admit during the campaign that he fathered three children out of wedlock whom he had never spoken of publicly before – contrary to his years of criticism of absentee fathers and his calls for black men in particular to take an active role in their children’s lives.

His ex-wife said Walker once held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. He never denied those details and wrote about his violent tendencies in a 2008 memoir attributing the behavior to mental illness.

Warnock has responded with his individual Senate achievement, touting a provision he sponsored to limit insulin costs for Medicare patients and reminding voters that Republicans blocked his bigger idea of ​​limiting those costs for all insulin-dependent patients. He praised deals on infrastructure and maternal health care made with Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, citing those GOP colleagues more than Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer or other Democrats in Washington.

After the general election, Biden, who was struggling with low approval ratings, vowed to help Warnock in any way he could, even if it meant staying out of Georgia. Warnock instead campaigned with former President Barack Obama in the days before the runoff.

Walker was endorsed by Trump but did not campaign with him until the last day of the campaign: The pair held a conference call with supporters on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

Walker’s candidacy is the GOP’s last chance to flip a Senate seat this year. Dr. Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz, Arizona’s Blake Masters, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt, and New Hampshire’s Don Bolduc, all Trump loyalists, lost competitive Senate races that Republicans viewed as part of their path to a majority.

Walker has split from Trump in a remarkable way. Trump has falsely claimed for two years that his loss in Georgia and nationally was fraudulent, despite the fact that countless federal and local officials, a long list of courts, former campaign aides and even his attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.

During his only debate against Warnock in October, Walker was asked if he would accept the results even if he lost. He answered with one word: “Yes.”


Associated Press Writer Ron Harris contributed to this report.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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