A marathon campaign will enter its final stretch on Tuesday, when Georgia voters decide the final U.S. Senate seat — and shape the next phase of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Polls show incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock with a narrow lead over his Republican challenger, former American football star Herschel Walker.
A victory for Warnock would give Democrats 51 seats in the 100-seat Senate, a bigger advantage than they currently hold in a Senate where Vice President Kamala Harris decides the tiebreaker.
This is the second time in two years that a Senate race has gone to a runoff in Georgia, as neither candidate secured a majority on Election Day. But the Peach State showed few signs of election fatigue, with officials reporting record numbers of early voters.
National and state Democrats didn’t slow down either, as they came out in support of Warnock. Celebrity-led events took place last week, including a concert by the Dave Matthews Band, with actresses Tessa Thompson and America Ferrera ( America Ferrera, and a rally for Georgia’s Asian American community starring Jeannie Mai Jenkins and Daniel Dae Kim.
Warnock, pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church, capped the week with a rally in Atlanta led by the party’s biggest star, Barack Obama. “I’m here to tell you, we can’t let up,” the former president said after taking the stage to rant. “I’m here to tell you we can’t tune far. We can’t be complacent. We have to run through the tape. I know you can because you’ve done it before.”
The event felt like a Baptist sermon as the crowd cheered and responded with “yes,” “okay,” and “come on” for nearly every word the former president uttered, which is directly in the Bible. Illustrates Georgia’s geographic location in the Deep South.
Obama has been racy, tough and sarcastic in the midterms, pissing off Republicans in a way few Democrats can. He said: “Since I was last here, Mr. Walker has been talking about issues that are very important to the people of Georgia. Like is it better to be a vampire or a werewolf. It’s a debate I must admit I’ve had myself. I was seven time. Then I grew up.”
He added: “By the way, in case you’re wondering, Mr. Walker decided he wanted to be a werewolf. That’s great. As far as I’m concerned, he could be anyone he wanted to be, except for a U.S. senator.”
With Florida turning Republican red, Georgia is emerging as one of the most pivotal swing states in the country. Biden defeated President Donald Trump there in 2020, helping him win the White House. Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won a Senate seat in January 2021 after a runoff, giving their party control of the chamber.
Obama praised Georgians’ ability to influence the country’s political landscape and touted post-2020 achievements such as infrastructure spending, gun safety legislation, lower prescription drug prices and record investment in clean energy. “That’s because of you, Georgia. Now we need you to do it again.”
Democrats hope Obama’s intervention will energize the party base. Ashley Davis, a student who attended the rally, said: “I’m ready. I’ve been canvassing since the election, and I’m also doing phone banking. I was heartened by that speech because it was so real. We can’t Stop because we know what’s at stake. Georgia is ready and we’ve proven we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
By contrast, Biden has stayed out due to concerns that he could drag Warnock down. Instead, he aimed to help the campaign from a distance, a tactic that proved successful in the midterms as Democrats came out of nowhere.
On Friday, the president joined a phone bank run by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Boston, Massachusetts, to help Warnock’s campaign and drew a sharp contrast to Walker. “This is not a referendum on Warnock,” he said. “It’s a choice — a choice between two people…one should not be in the United States Senate, based on his honesty, what he has said and what he hasn’t said. The other is a very, very decent, respectable people.”
Republicans won every other state race in Georgia last month. Gov. Brian Kemp, who won re-election, has now fully endorsed Walker. Strong turnout by the party’s voters on Election Day could still propel the former soccer player to victory.
But Walker has proven to be a fervent mover for Democrats, given his endorsement by Trump, lack of political pedigree and a string of bizarre and wild statements. “How embarrassed would you be if Herschel Walker were your senator?” a flyer sent home by the Georgia Democrat asked.
Walker’s campaign has been plagued by allegations that he abused his girlfriends in the past and paid for their abortions, undermining his anti-abortion stance. Most recently, he faced charges alleging his primary residence was in Texas rather than Georgia. Walker has denied the allegations.
Warnock leads Walker by a narrow margin of 49.44 per cent to 48.49 per cent in the November 8 election. An Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of Georgia voters found Warnock at 49 percent, Walker at 47 percent and 4 percent undecided.
Author and pollster John Zogby said: “Warnock must have gained some momentum from Nov. 8 because black voters seemed to be more energized and they wouldn’t support Herschel. walker.
“Walker has had a lot of problems since Nov. 8, and he hasn’t handled them well. Even with Kemp’s help (probably quite a bit), voters won’t end up voting for the governor they want them to vote for. Who: They vote for candidates.”
While Democrats have secured control of the Senate for two more years, a true majority of 51 seats would speed up the confirmation process for Biden’s executive and judicial nominees and provide the president with a buffer should any Democrats stray from party lines.
In addition, Democrats will gain more seats and financial resources in Senate committees, and committee chairmen will no longer need any Republican support to issue subpoenas to provide convincing witness testimony during investigations.
Biden told reporters last month: “51 is always better because we’re in a situation where the committee doesn’t have to be evenly made up. That’s why it’s important, mostly. But it’s just better. The bigger the number, the better. .”
“It does make a big difference because the Democrats are going to have a majority on almost every committee,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Than, it is easier for you to get the right to speak.
“Also, look at how many older senators … if there’s a vacant seat and people are unhappy with Biden, they could end up voting Republican in any purple state.”