Who will win the Georgia runoff election? Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker Senate race
The final Senate seat in the upcoming Congress will be decided in Georgia today; here’s who’s in the lead on the morning of Election Day.
Voters in Georgia will return to the polls today to cast their ballot for the final undecided seat in the Senate. The state of Georgia requires that the winning candidate gets a majority of the vote and, due to the presence of a third party candidate, neither incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock or GOP challenger Herschel Walker reached that threshold.
Recent poll data suggests that Warnock held a narrow lead over Walker going into Election Day on Tuesday, 6 December, but it was far from comprehensive. Polling experts FiveThirtyEight found, after compiling the data from a number of polls, that Warnock is averaging 50.2% of support, compared to Walker’s 48.2%.
Georgia is now considered a swing state but the vast majority of voters have become deeply entrenched in their vote. A CNN poll found that 99% of Democrats in Georgia were going to vote for their party’s candidate, while 95% of Republicans planned to cast their vote for Walker.
Warnock enjoys much more support among independents but they make up a fairly small proportion of the electorate, just 17% at last count.
Democrats claim Warnock has the momentum
In the first election back in November, Warnock claimed 49.4% of the vote compared to Walker’s 48.5%. Since then, it could certainly be argued that Warnock’s position has been strengthened by political events outside of Georgia.
The Republicans now have no chance of controlling the Senate, removing a key motivator that Walker used in the original campaign. The Democrats meanwhile have been bolstered by the better-than-expected national results in the midterms, leaving Warnock in a stronger place.
“This final push is all about building enthusiasm and momentum into Election Day,” said Warnock’s fellow Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff. “We want to mobilize as much energy as possible to get out the vote to reach folks who might not otherwise hear from campaigns.”
Walker could pull close with Election Day votes
In races as close as this one, turnout out is often the deciding factor. Some commentators had suggested that turnout could fall now that control of the Senate is no longer up for grabs but the pre-election figures suggest that partisan commitments are still bringing people to the voting booth.
There were roughly 1.9 million early votes cast in the Georgia Senate runoff election, nearly half as many as voted in the initial race back in November. The high number of early votes is good news for Warnock as Democrats are typically more likely to vote early.
It is likely that Walker will need to pick up at least 60% of the Election Day votes if he is to stand a chance of victory, but after an exhausting month of campaigning both candidates acknowledge that it is anyone’s race.
“There is still a path for Herschel Walker to win this race — he still could win,” Warnock told reporters on Monday. “If there’s anything I’m worried about is that people will think that we don’t need their voice. We do.”