Raphael Warnock defeats Herschel Walker in Georgia, solidifying a Democratic majority in Senate

The Georgia run-off also signals the change in demographics of the state, moving towards a more purple mix of candidates

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Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker

Theodore Rumberger, News Writer

Democratic candidate Senator Raphael Warnock beat Republican candidate Herschel Walker this past Tuesday in Georgia’s runoff election for Senate, gathering 51.4% of the votes

In the November election, neither candidate was able to exceed 50 percent of the vote, which is required in Georgia’s elections. The difference between a typical election and runoff is that voters can only choose between the two top candidates. 

According to The Washington Post, there was a drop off of 400,000 voters from the November election, a typical trend of Runoff elections. Still, Warnock was able to double the gap in votes from the November election. While Walker dominated in more rural areas, Warnock was able to increase his lead in suburban areas. That along with a large Republican dropoff in voter turnout for North Georgia counties aided Warnock’s victory.

According to The New York Times, former Heismann Trophy winner Walker, who raised in Wrightsville, Georgia, shifted his campaign “by focusing on his local roots while portraying Mr. Warnock as an ally of Hollywood liberals and the Democratic establishment.” While Warnock was also raised in Georgia, he spent years prior in Dallas before running for Senate.

Walker struggled to gain total backing from big party members across the nation, and Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp (R) was Walker’s biggest supporter during the runoff. Kemp, who won his second term in this year’s November election, urged voters to “join (him) in voting for (his) friend.”

Reverend Warnock was joined by former president Barack Obama in his final weeks of campaigning. He based his campaign on claims of being bipartisan in search of votes from both parties. 

“I wasn’t the biggest fan of either, it was kind of a lose-lose situation,” said RV senior Eric Wenz. “I would’ve liked the rRpublicans to take the majority of the Senate, but I would’ve preferred they had a better candidate. Hopefully in further elections they can run a better campaign with a more traditional republican.”

With Warnock’s victory, Democrats will maintain the majority of the Senate. This is a huge upset for Republicans, who had been hoping to regain control of the Senate during this midterm election.

Georgia, which was once an almost guaranteed red state, appears to have solidified its spot as an official swing state. More and more moderate Republicans like Kemp are able to win elections in Georgia and across the country, and the party has steered away from the Trump-backed candidates such as Walker, suggesting the Republican party is moving on from its “Make America Great Again” era. 

This election made big strides for Georgia. After previously becoming the State’s first ever black senator back in January of 2021, Warnock has become the state’s first black senator elected for a full six-year term.