The Last Midterm Rebuke of Trump Influence Comes From Warnock Winning the Georgia Senate Runoff. Source predicts that Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will prevail in Georgia’s Senate runoff, giving Democrats more sway in the chamber the following year and dealing former President Donald Trump a serious setback following the failure of another of his hand-picked candidates.
With Warnock’s victory over Herschel Walker, a Republican opponent, Democrats will hold 51 seats to the GOP’s 49. The election brings to a close a challenging midterm year for Republicans who gained the House majority but saw their aspirations for domination on Capitol Hill shattered by the controversial Senate candidacies of several Trump supporters.
After phoning Warnock, Walker told his followers, “There are no excuses in life, and I’m not going to make any excuses today because we put up one heck of a fight.” The runoff served as the former president’s final midterm test before he begins his third push for the presidency.
It was also a reminder that Georgia is now unmistakably a purple state after President Joe Biden narrowly won the state in 2020 and won two Senate runoff elections to give him a Democratic Senate in 2021. Warnock mentioned the fact that the runoff was his fourth campaign in two years during his victory speech.
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“It is my honor to repeat the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken after a hard-fought campaign, or should I say campaigns,” the speaker said. Warnock said, “I often remark that voting is a form of prayer for the world we want for ourselves and our children. “We are standing here because you worked so hard for it.”
Late on Tuesday night, the GOP quickly came under fire. Geoff Duncan, the lieutenant governor of Georgia, noted the gap between Gov. Brian Kemp’s victory in November and Walker’s predicted final position, saying that “the only explanation for this is candidate quality.”
He expressed his hope that the GOP would be alerted by Warnock’s success. “It’s our responsibility if we don’t take our medication here. Donald Trump needs to be held responsible for this by every Republican in our nation.
The fact that Kemp rushed to Walker’s aid in the runoff after keeping his distance during the general election last month was one of the reasons given by many Republicans for the race’s closeness on Tuesday night. Along with running for him, he lent the GOP Senate nominee’s campaign the strength of his own turnout operation.
Hard-fought elections in states like Nevada, where Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto held onto her seat despite economic difficulties, and Pennsylvania, where Democrat John Fetterman won a seat held by the GOP, already decided Democratic dominance of the Senate for the upcoming year.
There has been a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris delivering the deciding votes. Because of this, moderate Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have frequently acted alone to restrain the goals of their party, giving them an excessive amount of influence.
If Warnock wins a full six-year term, Democrats will be able to end their existing power-sharing arrangement with Republicans while also making it simpler for Biden’s candidates to gain support.
In the general election held last month, Warnock received more votes than Walker, but not enough for an outright victory. According to data from the ad tracking company AdImpact, the subsequent runoff had garnered more than $80 million in ad spending, with Democrats spending roughly twice as much as Republicans.
In a recent survey, Warnock had a slim lead over Walker. After a slew of scandals, Walker’s favorability rating dropped as voters began to doubt his integrity. Despite earlier supporting complete prohibitions on the procedure on the campaign trail, he has rejected reports that he forced or encouraged women to undergo abortions.
His home in the Dallas, Texas, area is receiving a tax credit this year that is solely meant for a primary residence, even though he is running for office in Georgia.
Last week, the state set single-day early voting records, but the early voting period was far shorter than in 2021. From around 3.1 million voters in 2016 to 1.87 million in 2022, fewer people will vote overall. Black voters, who largely supported Warnock in the survey, were a contributing factor in Democrats’ optimism. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, they represented close to 32% of the early voting turnout.
Walker, however, was depending on a strong showing from GOP voters, who frequently cast more ballots on election day. But this year, voters rejected many of Trump’s election-denying candidates in battleground states, complicating GOP fortunes across the country. Trump, like Biden, avoided the Peach State during the runoff.
The first indications of such may be found in Georgia from two years ago, where the GOP’s losses in the 2021 runoff elections that gave the Democrats control of the Senate were partially attributed to his efforts to cast doubt on mail-in ballots and vote to tally.
In the primary this year, voters resoundingly rejected the former president’s attempts to exact vengeance on Kemp, who had refused Trump’s calls to annul the 2020 election. Last month, Kemp easily defeated Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who was her opponent. Kemp received roughly 200,000 more votes than Walker.
Leaders in the Republican Party are preparing a more aggressive drive to support candidates in primaries who they believe have a better chance of winning after seeing defeats in crucial states like Arizona and Pennsylvania.
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Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who will be the new chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, told CNN: “Clearly you want to see candidates that can win general elections, and we’re going to keep putting that in.”
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