Raphael Warnock Wins Georgia Runoff Election

Democratic senator beats Herschel Walker
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 6, 2022 10:31 PM CST
Raphael Warnock Defeats Herschel Walker in Georgia
Supporters react during an election night watch party for Republican challenger Herschel Walker, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Atlanta. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of President Biden’s term and helping cap an underwhelming midterm cycle for the GOP in the last major vote of the year, the AP reports. With Warnock’s second runoff victory in as many years, Democrats will have a 51-49 Senate majority, gaining a seat from the current 50-50 split with John Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania. That means the party will no longer have to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Republicans and won’t have to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris to break as many tie votes. There will be divided government, however, with Republicans having narrowly flipped House control.

In last month’s election, Warnock led Walker by 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast, but fell short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The senator appeared to be headed for a wider final margin in Tuesday's runoff. Walker, a football legend who first gained fame at the University of Georgia and later in the NFL in the 1980s, was unable to overcome a bevy of damaging allegations, including claims that he paid for two former girlfriends’ abortions. “The numbers look like they’re not going to add up,” Walker told supporters in a concession speech late Tuesday at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta. “There’s no excuses in life and I’m not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight.”

Warnock, Georgia's first Black senator, was slated to address a jubilant crowd at a nearby downtown hotel shortly after Walker's remarks. Democrats’ Georgia victory solidifies the state’s place as a Deep South battleground two years after Warnock, 53, and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff won 2021 runoffs that gave the party Senate control just months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate in 30 years to win Georgia. Voters returned Warnock to the Senate in the same cycle they reelected Republican Gov. Brian Kemp by a comfortable margin and chose an all-GOP slate of statewide constitutional officers.

(Read more Georgia stories.)

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