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Georgia runoff: Democratic U.S. Senator Warnock beats Trump-backed rival

World Dec 07, 2022 05:21PM ET
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© Reuters. Reverend Raphael Warnock, Democratic Senator for Georgia, speaks during his final midterm runoff election campaign rally in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., December 5, 2022. REUTERS/Cheney Orr

By Nathan Layne

ATLANTA (Reuters) -Democrat Raphael Warnock won re-election to the U.S. Senate in a hard-fought Georgia runoff on Tuesday, strengthening his party's razor-thin majority as he fought off a challenge by Republican former football star Herschel Walker.

Warnock's projected victory was narrow. With 99% of the estimated vote counted, he led Walker by 50.8% to 49.2%, according to Edison Research.

The result cements Georgia as a battleground state certain to play a prominent role in the 2024 presidential election. Democrats have now won three Senate races in the past two years in the former Republican stronghold, and Democratic President Joe Biden carried the state in 2020.

"Let's celebrate for a little while on this mountain. Let's dance because we deserve it. But tomorrow we go back down into the valley to do the work," Warnock, a Baptist preacher, told a cheering crowd of supporters.

Walker's defeat is also a setback for Donald Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024. The former president endorsed Walker and dozens of other high-profile Republicans in this year's midterm elections, but he ends with a mixed record in his most competitive contests.

Walker's campaign was plagued by repeated gaffes. A vocal anti-abortion advocate, he was also dogged by reports that he paid for multiple former girlfriends to have abortions, allegations that he denied.

Warnock highlighted those concerns in campaign appearances and a barrage of television ads that made the race the most expensive of the 2022 midterm season, with more than $400 million spent.

"I'm not going to make any excuses now, because we put up one heck of a fight," Walker told supporters as he conceded on Tuesday.

At the Atlanta ballroom where Warnock's supporters gathered on election night, several hundred revelers erupted in applause when U.S. television networks called the race.

Many began dancing, some held their drinks in the air, and others took selfies to memorialize the moment. The group, a mix of young people, political activists, and wealthy professionals and donors, reflected the coalition of voters that Warnock drew on to win the contest.

The contest went to a runoff after neither candidate secured 50% of the vote on Nov. 8.

Warnock's victory was powered by a strong showing in urban and suburban counties, including Atlanta's Fulton County, where the incumbent Democrat was winning 77% of the vote - a higher share than he won in November.

Democrats now are on track for a 51-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate, which will make it slightly easier to advance Biden's nominees for judicial and administrative posts.

Much legislation will still require Republican support. But, with an extra vote to spare, Democrats may not now always need the cooperation of centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who were frequently at odds with their party as Democrats tried to advance Biden's ambitious legislative agenda over the past two years.

They will, however, face a more formidable roadblock in the U.S. House of Representatives, after Republicans won a narrow majority on Nov. 8, though they fell short of the "red wave" that some in the party had forecast.

Warnock, who like Walker is Black, is pastor of the historic Atlanta church where assassinated civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. preached. It is his second runoff victory in two years, after he won the seat in January 2021.

Venkayla Haynes, 28, said Warnock's win was especially meaningful after months of organizing get-out-the-vote efforts for both the general election and then the runoff.

"I'm very happy, I'm very excited that we won and that Black people have a candidate who represents the community and the issues they care about," said Haynes as she danced at Warnock's victory party.

Georgia runoff: Democratic U.S. Senator Warnock beats Trump-backed rival
 

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Comments (12)
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Dec 08, 2022 4:51PM ET
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Im surprised anyone votes for the extremist right domestic terr-/orist republican party anymore. They are totally lost.
gab nea
gab nea Dec 08, 2022 6:57AM ET
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it's hard to believe that even one voter chose an uncle Tom instead of an honest pastor! lying is no longer a negative character flaw for Republicans! no wonder they keep losing!
billy jones
billy jones Dec 07, 2022 3:28PM ET
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Nothing surprising here. Any candidate that the uniparty doesn't approve of will continue to lose until mass mail in voting is ended. Trump was an anomaly that I doubt will happen again in our lifetimes.
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 3:28PM ET
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Voting by mail was a non-issue for the GOP until a few years ago they noticed Democrats started favoring it more than retrumplicans.  People who use mail voting more include: women, the affluent and the busy, productive employed, military/NASA personnel abroad, elderly or handicapped, etc.  GOP is willing to ******them and the environment.  During the pandemic, retrumplicans were telling their base to not worry about getting infected and go vote in person.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 3:28PM ET
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First Last  "Voting by mail was a non-issue for the GOP until a few years ago"  -- Trump largely voted by mail himself until 2016......other GOP candidates (like governor, state AG and secretary of state) won the election in 2022 even with large mail in votes, so it would seem the only GOP who can't win in Georgia is the Trumpy candidate
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Dec 07, 2022 3:28PM ET
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Billy is triggered by perfectly legal mail in voting. What a snowflake
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Dec 07, 2022 10:48AM ET
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It’s amazing what an effective vote harvesting apparatus can accomplish. If the supporters of the Democrats and the left were as intelligent as they claim they wouldn’t need to debase democracy by harvesting votes. Informed people don’t need help registering to vote or voting.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Dec 07, 2022 10:48AM ET
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If your party does worse when more people vote, what does that tell you?
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 10:48AM ET
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Brad Albright   It tells him to support voter suppression.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 10:48AM ET
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"Informed people don’t need help registering to vote or voting."  -- then why does the republican party has a vote registration and get out to vote campaign in every state in every election???
Brian Walsh
Brian Walsh Dec 07, 2022 10:47AM ET
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Another nail in our country's Marxist coffin.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 10:47AM ET
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it's Marxist because people voted (twice in fact) to decide the winner?  yeah OK
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Dec 07, 2022 10:47AM ET
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Brian triggered as ever. You sound like a commie mark.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 6:11AM ET
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Now the fake sheriff can go back to his Texas home and continue to neglect his 7 children.....
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Dec 07, 2022 6:11AM ET
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Neglectful parenting is apolitical, just look at how Hunter turned out.
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 6:11AM ET
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Roger Miller   Or how Trump's spawns turned out.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Dec 07, 2022 6:11AM ET
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First Last  I take Hunter over Eric or Don Jranyday, at least Hunter is trying to make money on his own and not leaching off his dad, and Hunter at least admits to his drug addition unlike the other two.....
First Last
First Last Dec 07, 2022 6:11AM ET
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Tre Hsi   Yup.  And Biden was pro-meritocracy/ethical enough to NOT appoint Hunter into gov't.
Mad Money
Mad Money Dec 07, 2022 1:32AM ET
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What red wave? More like dead wave lol
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Dec 07, 2022 1:32AM ET
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Snowbirds == snowflakes, and commies apparently
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Dec 07, 2022 12:49AM ET
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Excellent!
Christopher Arntz
Christopher Arntz Dec 06, 2022 7:34PM ET
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CHEATING RAT BASTARDS WILL CHEAT AGAIN
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Dec 06, 2022 7:34PM ET
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YEAH! STOOPID VOTERS!
Jason Moreira
Rolln Dec 06, 2022 7:34PM ET
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I know, its not realistic that walker got so many votes.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Dec 06, 2022 7:34PM ET
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Triggered loser, how 2020 republican of you
First Last
First Last Dec 06, 2022 1:19PM ET
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"Along with the ******claims, former girlfriends have also accused Walker of domestic abuse. He has also faced allegations that he maintains his primary residence in Texas, not Georgia."
Steven ML
Steven ML Dec 06, 2022 1:19PM ET
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Did he grab her by the.....?
 
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