Here's How Things Look Ahead of Georgia's Runoff

Democrats are cautiously optimistic
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2022 11:58 PM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2022 5:01 AM CST
Here's How Things Are Going for Warnock, Walker on Eve of Runoff
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks during a campaign rally at Georgia Tech Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Atlanta. Warnock is in a runoff with Republican Herschel Walker.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

'Twas the night before Georgia's runoff election, and all through the state, things were looking fairly decent for Raphael Warnock. The Democratic senator, who is on the ballot for the fifth time in about two years—this time, competing against Herschel Walker for a full six-year term in the Senate—was leading his Republican opponent by 4 or 5 points in recent polls, and Democrats had a 13-point edge in early voting as of Monday night, NBC News reports. That's a significant increase over the 8-point edge Democrats had in early voting prior to the November election. While Walker is expected to get more votes on Tuesday, it's not clear whether he'll be able to get enough of them. He "needs to win Election Day by double digits," says an adviser to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. More coverage on the eve of the runoff:

  • Republican hopes fading: Politico reports that the general mood amongst the GOP has turned pessimistic, though both sides are expecting the final outcome to be close, and both sides acknowledge Walker could still pull off a victory. Even so, headlines like this from Axios were easy to find: "The Georgia Senate runoff is Raphael Warnock’s to lose."
  • Democrat hopes are heading in the other direction: Meanwhile, the Hill looks at the reasons Democrats are feeling optimistic: Warnock is seen as a top candidate, with none of the scandals that plague Walker; Warnock has already won one runoff election, in January 2021; and this time around, Walker does not have the bonus of the popular Kemp being atop the ballot, as he was in November.

  • Either way, history will be made: No matter who wins, they will be the first Black person from Georgia elected to a full term in the Senate, the Guardian reports. Warnock was the first Black person from the state ever elected to the Senate when he won his current, partial term.
  • That's the Senate, not the House: In comments to Politico on Saturday, Walker seemed confused about which chamber of Congress he's running for. Voters, he said, are "not [less motivated] because they know right now that the House will be even so they don’t want to understand what is happening right now. You get the House, you get the committees. You get all the committees even, they just stall things within there. So if we keep a check on Joe Biden, we just going to keep a check on him." It's the Senate, not the House, that he's running for, and whether he wins or not, Democrats will control it while Republicans control the House.
  • The Trump factor: Former President Trump gave Walker an early endorsement, but has not campaigned for him during the runoff. CNN explains how Trump's unpopularity in Georgia is likely helping Warnock.
  • Abortion limitations? Neither Warnock nor his fellow Democratic senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff, would say Sunday whether they support any limitations on abortion at all, Fox News reports. "I voted to protect Roe v. Wade, and I would do that again," was all Warnock would say.
(Read more Election 2022 stories.)

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