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As Georgia’s Senate candidates look to drive turnout ahead of the state’s shortened runoff cycle, Warnock has added roughly 300 paid staffers and new offices across the state to his voter contact program, his campaign said — increasing the direct voter contact programs to 18 counties and 19 offices across the state, and more than 900 paid staffers, according to details shared first with ABC News.
Campaign officials claimed the added investments and staff capacity would allow the campaign to knock on more doors during the four-week runoff than in the 16 weeks leading up to the general election, in which Warnock narrowly beat out Walker but failed to crack the 50% threshold required to win.
The voter contact program will be placed in priority counties for the Warnock campaign: Bibb, Chatham, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, DeKalb, Dougherty, Douglas, Floyd, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Lowndes, Muscogee, Newton, Richmond and Rockdale.
These are either in core urban and suburban areas around Atlanta, include some of the state’s other big cities (like Augusta and Savannah) or are in the “Black belt” in Southern Georgia.
In the November race, Walker received roughly 200,000 fewer votes than his Republican ticket-mate Gov. Brian Kemp. In those specific three counties the Warnock campaign is focused on, Walker underperformed Kemp by 5% in Columbia, in Floyd by 6% and by 3% in Lowndes.
Warnock finished less than 1% ahead of Walker in the general election, falling just shy of the cutoff needed to avoid a runoff. About 2% of voters went for Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, who will not be on the December ballot.
The expanded field program also comes as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it was spending $7 million on field organizing.
Democrats and Republicans alike are concentrating their efforts on getting supporters to the polls. The Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) announced last week it’s funding a ground game for the first time, investing $2 million to take over Kemp’s data and analytics operation.
When politics get personal
Though in the extra-innings of their arduous in-state fight, the mudslinging remains in mid-campaign form. Most recently, at a campaign stop in Augusta earlier this week, Walker made accusations of Warnock similar to his own, claiming he doesn’t “keep his own kids.”
“He paid himself for child care, all that stuff – why don’t he keep his own kids?” Walker said. “Don’t have nobody keep your kids. … I keep my own even though he lied about me.”
Walker’s campaign argued that Warnock’s family is “fair game” since “he and his allies have no problem with Hershel’s family being attacked.”
“I know that politics is ugly,” Warnock, the father of two, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “People play all kinds of games, unfortunately. But Herschel Walker and his allies have crossed a line where my family is concerned.”
Warnock continued, “I want to set the record straight: My children live with me. I am present with my children in every way that a father should be, from breakfast in the morning to bedtime prayers at night. I can’t continue to let him lie about our family.”
The attacks are likely to continue as both Walker and Warnock are embroiled in a highly watched runoff after neither candidate secured 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 8. The two are set to face off on Dec. 6 when Georgia voters set the record straight for the second time around.