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On Tuesday, the voters of Georgia will determine whether Republican challenger, Herschel Walker or Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will make history as the first Black person elected from Georgia to a full Senate term.
During the Nov. 8 general election, Warnock received 49.4 percent of the vote and Walker 48.5 percent. Today, both men compete for the six-year term after neither reached the 50% needed to win on the first ballot. AP VoteCast surveyed more than 3,200 voters in the state, showing that Warnock won 90% of Black voters. Walker, meanwhile, won 68% of white voters.
It’s ELECTION DAY!!! pic.twitter.com/eAPuiLaXmX
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 6, 2022
In the runoff, more than 1.85 million Georgians have already voted early, according to the office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, breaking two single-day records in about a week.
According to the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, that has powered a bigger edge than Democrats had going into the first round of voting last month, when Sen. Raphael Warnock ultimately topped GOP challenger Herschel Walker by nearly 40,000 votes.
Noteworthy, more than 76,000 of early runoff voters did not vote in the 2022 general election, according to GeorgiaVotes.com, a site that uses public data to analyze voting trends.
Democrats are outpacing Republicans among early in-person and mail votes by a heavy margin of 52% to 39%, according to data provided by TargetSmart. However, the GOP is likely banking on day-of voting for Walker’s come-from-behind victory.
Thank you to everyone who has come out to support ??@TeamHerschel?! The energy has been incredible. Let’s finish the job and encourage everyone to get out and VOTE this Tuesday! pic.twitter.com/0n3okvP1Ij
— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) December 4, 2022
Walker has been less of an active presence in the runoff than his rival, and his messaging about being a check on Democrats in Washington has barely shifted since his campaign’s inception. Add to that being outspent by the DNC along with parroting many of former President Trump’s failed talking points, some in the GOP are relying on the Christmas spirit for Walker to pull out the win.
“I think a lot of Republicans are hoping we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but there aren’t a lot of indications out there to base that on,” said Jason Shepherd, former chair of the Cobb County GOP. “Just a lot of hope and faith in things unseen. It’s the Christmas season, after all.”
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) said in an interview with CBS News that Walker will “probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history.”
— ?Divided We Fall???? (@YtH8r) December 5, 2022
Though Walker’s Senate campaign has been riddled with scandal after scandal, poll watchers and election experts predict another close vote count to tabulate on Tuesday.
Yet, with every calculated vote, Republicans are predicting an uphill battle amid Walker’s many swirling scandals and absurd public statements on the campaign trail.
The stakes in Tuesday’s runoff are particularly salient for Democrats who are not only hoping to solidify their Senate majority for immediate legislative purposes but are also aiming to cement their gains in a longtime Republican stronghold before the next election cycle.
As their highly contested race has proven so far, there could not be two more different candidates than Warnock and Walker and on Monday night, both men surrounded themselves with supporters looking for a Tuesday night win.
Warnock, the Democratic incumbent fighting for a full six-year term after narrowly winning office in a January 2021 runoff, made his final pitch to a multiracial crowd of about 200 people entertained by DJ D-Nice at Atlanta’s Wild Heaven West End Brewery. “He’s running for Senate, he’s not just your uncle talking at the family reunion,” Warnock said. “Georgia deserves a senator who actually knows what he’s talking about.”
In contrast, POLITICO reports Walker talked with supporters on a stage set up inside a Cobb County gun range Monday night, throwing T-shirts into a crowd of supporters. The Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” serenaded the event. “I want to say that this is about turnout,” said Walker. “This is about turnout. And that means that we’ve got to get in the game, and we can’t sit on the sideline anymore. Because if we sit on the sideline, y’all seen what we’re going to get.”