A source with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office tells Channel 2′s Justin Gray that the office is beginning preparations for a U.S. Senate runoff.
Incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, Democrat, is facing Herschel Walker, Republican, for a full six-year term for the one of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats.
The secretary of state’s office website shows that all precincts in 159 counties have reported their numbers. The website currently shows that neither Warnock or Walker met the threshold of getting 50% + 1 vote to avoid a runoff.
ABC News officially called the race a runoff after 12:30 p.m.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Warnock won the seat two years ago to fill the remaining term of the late-Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down for health reasons about midway through his term. Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to the seat for about a year until an election could be held to fill it.
Before a runoff was called, Warnock spoke to supporters and said he remains committed to his work since his first day on the job and is confident Georgia will speak definitively for him once all votes are counted.
“We know when they finish counting the votes from today’s election, that we are going to have received more votes than my opponent, we know that,” Warnock said. “We also know once again, the people of Georgia showed up and said loud and clear that you want a senator who will do the work for all of Georgia.”
“If you can hang in, hanging out a little bit longer, just hang in there a little bit longer, because something good, it takes a while for it to get better. And it’s going to get better. So, I wanted to thank you guys for hanging in. And if you saw me and you have to go home, you can wake up tomorrow morning and see that the new senator of the great state of Georgia is Herschel Walker,” Walker told his supporters.
- Georgia 2022 Midterm election results
- PHOTOS: Who won Georgia’s 2022 elections?
- EXPLAINER: How Georgia’s midterm runoff elections work
Amid generationally high inflation and with Biden’s popularity lagging in Georgia, Warnock wants voters to make a localized choice, not a national referendum on Democrats as a whole.
As Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator, Warnock pitches himself as a pragmatist who cuts deals with Republicans when they’re willing and pushes Democratic-backed cost-cutting measures when they’re not. Among the top accomplishments Warnock touts capping the cost of insulin and other drugs for Medicare recipients.
“I’ll work with anybody to get things done for the people of Georgia,” Warnock said.
Walker, meanwhile, denies that he’s ever paid for an abortion. And glossing over a cascade of other stories — documented exaggerations of his business record, academic achievements and philanthropic activities; publicly acknowledging three additional children during the campaign only after media reports on their existence — Walker touts his Christian faith and says his life is a story of “redemption.”
“Raphael Warnock votes with Joe Biden 96% of the time,” Walker has told voters again and again. “He’s forgotten about the people of Georgia.”
Through the scrutiny he calls “foolishness,” the Republican nominee has campaigned as a cultural and fiscal conservative. Walker, who is also Black, pledges to “bring people together” while framing Warnock as a divisive figure on matters of race and equality. Walker justifies his attack using snippets of Warnock’s sermons in which the pastor-senator discusses institutional racism.
Republicans used similar tactics against Warnock ahead of his runoff victory on Jan. 5, 2021. Warnock won that contest by about 95,000 votes out of 4.5 million cast. More than 2 million Georgia voters have cast ballots ahead of Election Day.
The runoff will be held Dec. 6.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
©2022 Cox Media Group