Raphael Warnock Will Win The Georgia Senate Runoff Election!
CNN predicts that Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will prevail in Georgia’s Senate runoff, giving Democrats more sway in the chamber the following year and dealing former President Donald Trump a severe setback following the failure of another of his hand-picked candidates.
With Warnock’s victory over Herschel Walker, a Republican opponent, Democrats will hold 51 seats to the GOP’s 49.
The election brings to a close a challenging midterm year for Republicans who gained the House majority but saw their aspirations for domination on Capitol Hill shattered by the controversial Senate candidacies of several Trump supporters.
After phoning Warnock, Walker told his followers, “There are no excuses in life, and I’m not going to make any excuses today because we put up one heck of a fight.”
The runoff served as the former president’s final midterm test before he began his third push for the presidency. It was also a reminder that Georgia is now unmistakably a purple state after President Joe Biden narrowly won the state in 2020 and two Senate runoff elections to give him a Democratic Senate in 2021.
Just called @SenatorWarnock to congratulate him on his win.
Tonight Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and most importantly: sent a good man back to the Senate. Here’s to six more years. pic.twitter.com/ibx5aprVs3
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 7, 2022
During his victory speech, Warnock mentioned that the runoff was his fourth campaign in two years. “It is my honor to repeat the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken after a hard-fought campaign, or should I say campaigns,” the speaker said.
I frequently remark that casting a ballot is like praying for the world we want for our children and ourselves, Warnock said. “We are standing here because you worked so hard for it.”
After returning to Washington from an event in Arizona, the president called Warnock and tweeted that Georgians had “stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and most importantly: sent a wonderful guy back to the Senate.” Cheers to another six years!
Late on Tuesday night, the GOP quickly came under fire.
Geoff Duncan, the lieutenant governor of Georgia, noted the gap between Gov. Brian Kemp’s victory in November and Walker’s predicted final position on CNN, saying that “the only explanation for this is candidate quality.”
He hoped the GOP would be alerted by Warnock’s success. “It’s our responsibility if we don’t take our medication here. Donald Trump must be held responsible for this by every Republican in our nation.
The fact that Kemp rushed to Walker’s aid in the runoff after keeping his distance during the general election last month was one of the reasons given by many Republicans for the race’s closeness on Tuesday night. Along with running for him, he lent the GOP Senate nominee’s campaign the strength of his turnout operation.
According to numerous people involved with his campaign, Walker’s team morale plummeted in the last days as it became apparent that their candidate would probably lose to Warnock.
As the runoff contest developed over the past month, several Walker’s staff employees grew impatient because they felt their counsel for the troubled candidate wasn’t being heeded as outside voices with less political experience were elevated.
Walker’s campaign attempted to modify his message to be more closely aligned with the one Kemp ran on while also dealing with several scandals, but ultimately felt their candidate refused to take strategic advice, was reluctant to hit the campaign trail, and primarily declined media interviews in the closing days.
One individual with knowledge of the campaign told CNN that Blanchard “is so proud he doesn’t like taking advise” and relied more on his wife, Julie Blanchard, than his team for most decisions.
Win Expands Democrats’ Senate Majority
Hard-fought races in states like Nevada, where Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto hung onto her seat despite economic difficulties, and Pennsylvania, where Democrat John Fetterman won a seat held by the GOP, already decided Democratic dominance of the Senate for the upcoming year.
With Vice President Kamala Harris’s votes to break ties, the Senate is split 50-50. Because of this, moderate Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both of whom are Democrats, have disproportionately held back the goals of their party. Democrats will be able to end their existing power-sharing arrangement with Republicans if Warnock wins a full six-year term. Biden’s choices will have an easier time getting elected.
Biden and his advisors have understood the importance of the one additional seat. One Democrat aware of the White House’s viewpoint stated it very simply: “It means a lot.”
In the general election held last month, Warnock received more votes than Walker, but he fell short of the majority required to win outright. Data from the ad tracking company AdImpact shows that more than $80 million was spent on advertising for the subsequent runoff, with Democrats spending roughly twice as much as Republicans.
In a CNN poll released last week, Warnock had a slim edge over Walker. Walker’s favorability rating was low due to the voters’ doubts about his integrity following a string of scandals. Despite having previously called for complete restrictions on the operation while running for office, he has disputed claims that he forced or urged women to undergo abortions. He is reportedly receiving a tax credit this year on his house in the Dallas, Texas, area while also competing for the seat in Georgia, according to CNN’s KFile.
Although the early voting period was substantially shorter than in 2021, the state smashed single-day early voting records last week. Approximately 3.1 million people cast ballots nationwide the previous year; 1.87 million will do so in 2022. Black voters, who massively supported Warnock in the CNN survey, were one reason Democrats were upbeat. The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office estimates that they represented close to 32% of early voting participation.
On Election Day, GOP voters often show out more significantly, so Walker depended on their strong turnout.
However, Trump, who avoided the Peach State during the runoff as Biden did, complicated GOP chances this year as voters rejected many of his election-denying candidates in battleground states.
Some of the first indications of it may be found in Georgia two years ago, where his efforts to cast doubt on the validity of mail-in ballots and the results of the vote were partially to blame for the GOP’s defeats in the 2021 runoff elections that gave the Democrats control of the Senate.
Trump’s attempts to get even with Kemp this year—who refused to have the 2020 election annulled—were decisively rejected by voters in the primary. With approximately 200,000 more votes than Walker, Kemp went on to soundly defeat Democratic rival Stacey Abrams last month.
Top Republicans are preparing a more aggressive drive to support candidates in primaries that they view as more electable after watching losses in crucial states like Arizona and Pennsylvania. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who will soon take over as chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, told CNN: “Clearly, you want to see candidates that can win general elections, and we’re going to keep putting that in.”