Warnock Wins Six-Year Senate Term

Warnock Wins Six-Year Senate Term

The incumbent Democrat won by large margins in the core counties of metro Atlanta, particularly in DeKalb and Fulton.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sen. Raphael Warnock
Sen. Raphael Warnock

Georgia’s 2022 election season has ended with the re-election of incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

With all of the state’s 159 counties and 2,652 precincts having reported, the secretary of state’s office Wednesday listed Warnock with 1,814,827 votes (51.35 percent) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker with 1,719,376 (48.65 percent).

Walker, a star running back on University of Georgia football teams in the early 1980s, delivered his concession speech at 11 p.m., Tuesday, to supporters at the College Football Hall of Fame. “There’s no excuses in life,” he said. “I’m not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight.”

Warnock, who has continued serving as senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta, addressed jubilant supporters at a downtown Atlanta hotel about 15 minutes later. “I’m about to utter the four most powerful words you can speak in a democracy: the people have spoken,” he said.

Republican challenger Herschel Walker lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff.

Michael Rosenzweig, an Atlantan and a vice chair of the Jewish Democratic Council of Atlanta, told the AJT: “This is a great victory for the people of Georgia and for the Jewish community that so strongly supported Sen. Warnock. He embraces the values that were most important to our community in this election—values such as protecting our democracy and reproductive rights—which is why the Jewish community worked so hard to re-elect him.”

Chuck Berk, co-chair of the Atlanta chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the AJT: “Rev. Warnock concentrated almost his entire campaign on personal ‘character,’ not the important policies facing our citizens. I hope, now that he’s elected, he will focus on things that will help Georgians.” Berk cited “reckless” government spending and “suffocating” inflation, ensuring energy independence, border security, fentanyl trafficking linked to 100,000 deaths, actions that support law enforcement, and responding to threats posed by China.

The runoff results remain unofficial until they are certified by the counties and the secretary of state’s office.

Warnock’s victory gives Democrats a 51-seat majority in the Senate. Democrats currently hold nominal control of the Senate with 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris holding a tie-breaking vote.

The Associated Press and several television networks called the race for Warnock at about 10.30 p.m.

In the metro Atlanta core counties, Warnock received 87 percent of the vote in DeKalb County, 77 percent in Fulton County, 62 percent in Gwinnett County, and 60 percent in Cobb County. Statewide, Warnock’s general election margin of 35,000 more votes than Walker grew to 95,000 in the runoff.

The runoff was required because Georgia requires an election winner to receive a majority of the votes cast. Georgia is one of only two states (Louisiana, the other) that has this requirement for general elections, as well. In the Nov. 8 general election, Warnock received 49.4 percent, Walker 48.5 percent, and Libertarian Chase Oliver 2.1 percent.

Warnock was seeking a full six-year term, after winning a Jan. 5, 2021, runoff to serve the two years remaining in the term of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned his seat in December 2020 due to ill health. Warnock defeated appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler to become the first African American elected by Georgia to the Senate and only the 11th in U.S. history.

Democrat Jon Ossoff unseated incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue in another Jan. 5, 2021 runoff, making Ossoff the first Jewish senator elected from Georgia. In a statement Tuesday night, Ossoff said, “It is an honor to work every day for the people of Georgia with Rev. Raphael Warnock, and I congratulate my dear friend on his victory tonight. Rev. Warnock has won universal respect in the Senate for his moral clarity and dedication to public service, and I look forward to continue working side-by-side with Sen. Rev. Warnock for our great state.”

Walker was recruited to run for the Senate by former Republican President Donald Trump, who owned the New Jersey Generals, the United States Football League team that Walker signed with following his 1982 Heisman Trophy-winning junior year at the University of Georgia.

The secretary of state’s office reported that 3.53 million Georgians voted in the runoff, 50.4 percent of the state’s more than 7 million active registered voters. More than 1.88 million Georgians, nearly one-quarter of active registered voters, took advantage of early in-person voting.

When Warnock won in the January 2021 runoff, the interval between the general election and the runoff was nine weeks. The overhaul of the state’s voting rules and procedures by the Republican-controlled legislature following the 2020 cycle reduced the runoff period to four weeks.

Warnock raised more money than any other federal candidate this election cycle, $150.5 million (as of Nov. 16), compared with $58.3 million for Walker. Including spending by outside groups, more than $380 million was spent on the Senate race.

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