BREAKING NEWS: Raphael Warnock BEATS Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia to give Democrats 51 Senate seats in the majority
- Georgia’s polls closed at 7 p.m. EST as the state’s voters will decide the fate of the final Senate seat in the 2022 midterm races
- The race pit incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock against the Trump-backed Republican, Herschel Walker
- The race was called for Warnock by the Associated Press just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday
- Just before the race was called, President Joe Biden told reporters, ‘We’re going to win. We’re going to win Georgia’
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will win the Georgia Senate runoff race against the Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker giving Democrats a much-needed 51st vote in the upper chamber.
The race was called by the Associated Press just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Warnock’s win means the Democrats will have an outright majority in the U.S. Senate and no longer need Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes. They’ll also have a majority on committees, making it easier to push legislation through.
Walker was handpicked by former President Donald Trump to run against Warnock in a state where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who split with Trump over the ex-president’s false 2020 fraud claims, easily won reelection over a national Democratic figure, Stacey Abrams.
Warnock’s loss potentially signals yet another sign of Trump’s diminished clout with the American electorate.
Neither Trump nor President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail in the month between the November general election and the runoff race.
Biden spent Georgia’s election day in Arizona and expressed confidence that Warnock would prevail as he landed at Joint Base Andrews around 10 p.m. Tuesday night.
‘We’re going to win. We’re going to win Georgia,’ the president said.
The race was called when Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock had a narrow lead over Republican Herschel Walker, but the bulk of the outstanding vote to be counted came from the area around Atlanta, which favors Democrats
Supporters of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock cheer at this election night party in Atlanta, Georgia
Supporters of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock watch CNN on a jumbotron as vote totals in Georgia are reported Tuesday night
Republican Herschel Walker hosted supporters at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia
A supporter of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock holds up a sign at his election night gathering in Atlanta
Director Spike Lee speaks to the crowd at Sen. Raphael Warnock’s election night headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia
Director Spike Lee (center) talks with television host Roland Martin (right) at Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s election headquarters in Atlanta Tuesday night
A supporter of Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker listens to the national anthem at his election night event in Atlanta
Warnock had taken an early lead after polls closed at 7 p.m., due to early voting totals being reported first, but around 8:40 p.m. the Trump-backed Republican was beating the Democrat.
Around 9 p.m., Warnock was winning the race again. Moments later, it was Walker.
Warnock got a boost from some of the counties around Atlanta, including DeKalb, reporting its ballots. Walker’s been pulling ahead when in-person voting on Election Day votes are reported.
But by 10 p.m., many of Georgia’s red, Republican counties had fully reported their votes, while the Atlanta area hadn’t finished counting.
The networks started calling the race for the Democrat just before 10:30 p.m.
The race attracted record-breaking interest, according to Gabrielle Sterling, the chief operating officer for the Georgia Secretary of State.
‘With the numbers we have, we’re looking at close to 3.3 million, which is really much more than any of the pundits or consultants expected,’ Sterling said Tuesday night on CNN, about an hour after polls closed.
Sterling said the higher-than-expected turnout was ‘everywhere’ and not in specific blue or red counties.
‘So there’s no good way to say who’s winning or losing on this day, which means we’ll actually have to go through this torturous thing of actually counting the votes,’ Sterling said.
Journalists on the ground, including from The New York Times, reported that few voters encountered long Election Day lines, while in the Atlanta area some voters who voted early waited for more than two hours.
Sterling tweeted around noon that the average wait time for voters statewide was three minutes, with the longest recorded being 32 minutes in Cherokee County. At around 4 p.m., the state was averaging a one-minute wait time, Sterling later tweeted.
A voter casts a ballot in-person during Tuesday’s Senate runoff race in Georgia. Republicans are banking on good turnout today, as the early vote tends to boost Democratic candidates
Republican candidate Herschel Walker poses for a picture with a supporter at the Marietta Diner, where he made an Election Day stop Tuesday
A supporter takes a selfie with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who’s hoping to win a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate Tuesday
During campaign trail appearances Tuesday, Warnock and Walker had fighting words about one another.
‘Right now, I’ll put my character against Raphael Warnock any day,’ Walker said at an Election Day campaign stop at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia, after a reporter pointed out that ‘the issue of character is very important to voters.’
Walker, a Georgia football Heisman winner and ex-NFL player backed by former President Donald Trump, had a number of accusations thrown at him during his run, including that the pro-life Republican pressured girlfriends to have abortions and was abusive toward family members.
Walker denied the abortion claims and said he’s been up front about previous mental health struggles.
‘Don’t beat women, hold guns to peoples heads, fund abortions then pretend your pro-life, stalk cheerleaders, leave your multiple minor children alone to chase more fame, lie, lie, lie, say stupid crap, and make a fool of your family,’ Walker’s son Christian tweeted as the race was called for Warnock. ‘And then maybe you can win a senate seat.’
Warnock gathered supporters at a canvass kick-off event in Norcross, Georgia and remarked how he had been on the ballot five times in just over two years.
‘So I’m fully acquainted with tired,’ he said. ‘But let me tell you my definition of tired this morning: having to be represented by Herschel Walker for six years.’
‘That, my friends, will be exhausting,’ the Democrat added.
‘Right now, I’ll put my character against Raphael Warnock any day,’ said Republican Herschel Walker (right) at an Election Day campaign stop Tuesday at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia
‘But let me tell you my definition of tired this morning: having to be represented by Herschel Walker for six years,’ said Demoratic Sen. Raphael Warnock from Norcross, Georgia on Tuesday
Georgia voters wait in line to vote Tuesday in the state’s runoff Senate race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker
Warnock and his top surrogate, former President Barack Obama, have characterized Walker as someone clueless about public policy, who won’t be able to do the job of U.S. senator.
Warnock hasn’t helped himself – going viral when he talked about preferring to be a werewolf over a vampire at a campaign stop in mid-November – and accidentally saying that this ‘erection is about the people.’
‘The people of Georgia deserve someone who will walk with them. And Georgia’s better than Herschel Walker,’ Warnock said Tuesday morning.
‘I’m not talking about his humanity. I’m talking about his fitness to serve,’ Warnock continued.
‘Georgia’s better than that,’ he added.
Warnock has already served two years in the Senate after his 2020 special election went to a runoff against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who Republican Gov. Brian Kemp had selected to take the place of retiring GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. Warnock’s win on January 5, 2021 was to finish Isakson’s remaining two-year term.
After winning a primary and qualifying for the runoff in 2022, he’s on the ballot to win a full, six-year term.
Warnock said the Democrats weren’t leaving anything up to chance.
‘Which is why we’re standing out here getting sprinkled and baptized again,’ said Warnock, who serves as the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
A sample ballot is displayed at Zion Baptist Church during the midterm Senate runoff elections in Marietta, Georgia
Voters wait in line outside a polling place Tuesday in Columbus, Georgia to decide the final Senate race of the 2022 midterms
Residents stand outside an Atlanta polling place holding umbrellas on Senate runoff Election Day in Georgia
Warnock warned that while early voting looked strong – nearly 2 million Georgians went to the polls before Election Days with Democrats tending to prefer early voting – Walker still had ‘a path.’
‘The job is not done. The truth is my opponent could still win this election,’ Warnock said. ‘More of our voters tend to vote during the early period and more of his voters tend to vote on election day.’
At the Marietta Diner, Walker expressed optimism that he would pull it out.
‘Gonna get out and win this election. Herschel Walker gonna be your senator and gonna get things changed,’ he told reporters.
The men are on the ballot again because neither hit the requisite 50 percent plus one vote to win the race outright in November.
In the initial vote, Warnock finished ahead with 1,943,737 votes to Walker’s 1,907,272 votes, or 0.9 percent.
As he left the diner Tuesday, Walker refused to answer a question of whether he would concede.
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