Georgia run-off: Who are Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock?
The polls officially closed in Georgia on Tuesday in a runoff election for the US Senate between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and former football star Herschel Walker for the Republican Party.
The election will determine who controls the Senate, so the party faithful from both sides made a final-stretch effort to support their candidate.
Soon after voting was done, the state began reporting preliminary voting tallies, though official results could take some time to come in.
The latest polls indicate fading hopes for the Republicans, however, as Mr Warnock – the first Black US senator from Georgia – rides ahead of his rival in the race to win a full six-year term. His victory would give Democrats a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
The two candidates offer a stark choice to the Black voters in the state. Mr Warnock, a senior minister of Martin Luther King’s Atlanta church, echoes traditional liberal notions of the Black experience, while Mr Walker, a University of Georgia football icon, advocates the language of white cultural conservatism, as he mocks the Democratic incumbent’s interpretations of King.
What the Georgia runoff says about race in the US
The runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker may involve a contest between two Black men, but some commentators argue the election is deeply symbolic about where the Democratic and Republican parties stand on race.
In 2020, Georgia went for Joe Biden, the first time the state sent a Democrat to the White House in three decades.
Due to local dynamics and pervasive voter disenfranchisement, until recently, the state’s majority Black population wasn’t able to elect a Democrat, even though African-Americans are the base of the party.
Perhaps sensing a red state slipping into the purple category, the GOP found a Black candidate in Walker who was both extremely popular in Georgia due to his college and pro football career, and deeply conservative.
It didn’t matter that he often struggled with basic policy questions or was dogged with continous scandals from his personal life.
To commentators like Caroline Randall Williams, the Republican party is knowingly using Walker to reach Black voters, even though the GOP in her view has abandoned the policy choices that would make America more equitable and less unjust on racial lines.
“Walker’s candidacy is a fundamental assault by the Republican Party on the dignity of Black Americans,” she wrote in The Atlantic today. “How dare they so cynically use this buffoon as a shield for their obvious failings to meet the needs and expectations of Black voters? They hold him up and say, ‘See, our voters don’t mind his race. We’re not a racist party. We have Black people on our side too.’”
Here’s more from The Independent about how identity factored into this election.
Josh Marcus7 December 2022 01:10
Follow our Independent reporters for the latest on the Georgia Senate race
Washington bureau chief Eric Garcia has the latest analysis of the Georgia Senate rate, how the election is delivering high turnout levels.
Follow him at @EricMGarcia on Twitter for more.
Josh Marcus7 December 2022 00:46
Did Herschel Walker ever really live in Georgia?
Herschel Walker, the scandal-plagued Republican candidate in the Senate runoff election in Georgia, said he lives in Texas in a newly unearthed recording.
In a January speech to the University of Georgia’s College Republicans, the former football star stated plainly, “I live in Texas,” despite competing against Democrat Raphael Warnock for Georgia’s US Senate seat.
“Everyone asks me, why did I decide to run for a Senate seat? Because to be honest with you, this is never something I ever, ever, ever thought in my life I’d ever do,” Mr Walker told the club, according to a report from CNN’s KFILE.
The revelation follows a previous CNN report that Mr Walker claimed a tax break on his multi-million dollar Texas home in 2021 and 2022 intended for primary residents, saving himself an estimated $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax law and Georgia election procedures.
Josh Marcus7 December 2022 00:30
Results start rolling in for Georgia Senate runoff
It’s official, moments after polls closed in Georgia, we have our first counties sharing voter totals, though it’s still only a few hundred thousand votes, with just 10 per cent of counties reporting.
As expected, incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock, who currently holds the lead in this provisional total, is carrying urban counties near the cities of Atlanta, Augusta, and Macon, while Herschel Walker is winning in redder, more rural counties.
Follow the latest prelimary tallies here, based on Associated Press data.
And here is the state of Georgia’s official elections counter.
Josh Marcus7 December 2022 00:15
Polls close in Georgia in runoff to decide control of Senate
Polls are officially closed in Georgia for the runoff race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, though those in line now will still be able to cast their choice in the Senate race.
It’s unclear when we’ll know who won.
Unofficial results will be posted online shortly, but official tallies depend on turnout and how quickly individual counties share their voter data with state authorities.
We’ll be monitoring all the latest developments.
Eric Garcia has more information.
Josh Marcus7 December 2022 00:04
What time will we know the results?
Polls in Georgia open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm on Tuesday. Voters who are still in line by 7:00 pm will still be allowed to vote.
Results of the race will likely be known earlier than in the 2021 runoff, due largely to the fact that many voters have already cast their ballot.
Oliver O’Connell6 December 2022 23:40
DoJ to monitor polls in Georgia for compliance with federal voting rights laws
The Justice Department plans to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in four counties in Georgia today, the department said in a statement.
Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters. The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot.
For this election, the Civil Rights Division will monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws on Election Day in four jurisdictions: Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Macon-Bibb County. Monitors will include personnel from the Civil Rights Division and from the US Attorneys’ Offices.
The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts.
Oliver O’Connell6 December 2022 23:20
What influence does Trump have on today’s race?
Donald Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, meaning its elected officials must answer for every egregious statement or call to subvert the law he makes. The difference is that now, after two impeachments and suffering a crushing loss in 2020, he no longer offers them many benefits. Rather, every utterance he makes reminds voters why they don’t vote for Republicans.
Nowhere is this clearer than in Georgia’s Senate runoff, writes Eric Garcia.
Oliver O’Connell6 December 2022 23:00
Watch: Today is a ‘mini-referendum’ on Trump
“This is a mini referendum on the value, or lack thereof, of a Trump endorsement,” says CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett
Oliver O’Connell6 December 2022 22:40
A stark choice for Black voters
Black voters say the choice is stark: Warnock, the senior minister of Martin Luther King’s Atlanta church, echoes traditional liberal notions of the Black experience; and Walker, a University of Georgia football icon, speaks the language of white cultural conservatism and mocks Warnock’s interpretations of King, among other matters.
Oliver O’Connell6 December 2022 22:20