ATLANTA — The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker remained too close to call early Wednesday morning.
It’s still unclear if the race will go to a runoff. One candidate has to win by 50% plus one vote to avoid going head-to-head again.
We’re following all the latest developments on the razor-tight race, in our LIVE Team 2 coverage on Channel 2 Action News This Morning.
The balance of power of the U.S Senate could once again come down to whoever wins Georgia’s seat. Currently, the U.S. Senate is a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris giving Democrats the tie-breaking vote.
Warnock is facing-off against Walker for a full six-year term for the one of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats.
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 Loefler was appointed to the seat for about a year until an election could be held to fill it.
Many analysts feel that the race will go into a run-off. In order to avoid one, one of the candidates must get 50% + 1 vote in order to win the race outright.
A runoff also would mean another month of Warnock hammering Walker, a sports celebrity turned politician, as unqualified and Walker assailing Warnock as a rubber-stamp for the White House.
“Raphael Warnock votes with Joe Biden 96% of the time,” Walker tells voters again and again. “He’s forgotten about the people of Georgia.”
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Warnock, who is also the senior minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, answers that Walker is “not ready” and “not fit” for high office. That’s an allusion to Walker’s rocky past, from allegations of violence against his ex-wife to accusations by two women Walker once dated that he encouraged and paid for their abortions despite his public opposition to abortion rights.
Both approaches highlight the candidates’ most glaring liabilities.
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. 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.”
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 Associated Press contributed to this article.
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