'Victory!': Georgia Senate Runoff Election Called for Democrat Raphael Warnock
03:55 GMT 07.12.2022 (Updated: 04:17 GMT 07.12.2022)
© AP Photo / Patrick SemanskyGeorgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock speaks during a drive-in rally Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Atlanta
© AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
Warnock and Walker entered a runoff election after neither candidate secured 50% of the vote during the midterm elections that took place in early November.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican candidate and former football star Herschel Walker in a Georgia Senatorial runoff election, new projections have revealed. The win will increase Democrats’ control of the Senate.
With 97% of the expected vote reporting, the race has been called for Warnock who is leading with 50.52% of the vote to Walker's 49.48%. While Walker could technically catch up, most of the counties with large percentages of the vote still to be counted lean heavily toward the Democrats, making a Walker comeback all but impossible.
Moments after the race was called in his favor, Warnock took to Twitter to give his thanks to Georgia voters.
With Warnock’s win, Democrats have increased their hold on Congress to 51, including two independent senators who caucus with Democrats. Should Warnock's win hold, it means Democrats will no longer need to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to pass legislation without Republican flips, and will have more power in determining committee assignments.
Walker’s loss represents yet another setback for Trump-backed candidates in the midterm elections. Many political observers expected a “red wave” to overtake the election, resulting in large losses for Democrats.
The nonexistent wave ended up being little more than a ripple. While Republicans did gain control of the House, it was by a lower margin than expected and Democrats increased their control of the Senate by one seat. Several Trump-backed candidates underperformed in the election.
The Walker campaign was mired by a string of controversies. Not the least of which was when a former girlfriend of Walker accused the pro-life candidate of paying for her abortion. Warnock’s campaign was conservative in nature, rarely engaging with the Walker campaign and allowing the NFL Hall of Famer to make his own mistakes.
Even the day before the election, Walker made another mistake, stating that he was running for the House of Representatives, and being seemingly confused about what is at stake in his election.
23 November 2022, 21:13 GMT
Still, despite the large variety of gaffs by the Walker campaign, the runoff was nearly as close as November’s election, where Warnock led Walker by one point. The two candidates traded positions during the election runoff, each taking the lead as counties favorable to them were counted.
Walker underperformed in November compared to other Republicans on the Georgia ballot and that issue was compounded further when he underperformed in several counties compared to his November vote totals.
As happened around the nation during the general election, early and mail-in ballots were predominantly Democratic while ballots cast on election day were more often Republican. The runoff election broke records for turnout, with at least 3.18 million Georgians voting either early or on election day.
After landing at Joint Base Andrew in Maryland on Tuesday Night, US President Joe Biden expressed confidence that Warnock would win the election, even before it was called by most press outlets.