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Raphael Warnock Beats Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate Runoff

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A number of factors sank the Republican’s campaign. The biggest was Walker himself.

Democrat Raphael Warnock—the incumbent junior Senator from Georgia, the son of a former sharecropper, and the senior pastor at the church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach—has won the runoff election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker, multiple media outlets projected late Tuesday night. 

Warnock bested Walker 49.4 percent to 48.5 in the Nov. 8 general election, but Georgia law requires a runoff election when neither candidate surpasses 50 percent of the vote. Georgia is one of just two states—the other is Louisiana—to use runoffs in this way. In Georgia, the model was created to dilute the voting clout of Black voters who tended to coalesce around one candidate in a bloc while White voters more often divided their support among multiple candidates.

But in the last couple Georgia elections where runoffs were triggered, it was Black voters and Democratic candidates who have come out on top.

The 2021 runoff resulted in Warnock and Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff ousting Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively.

While the full vote tallies have not yet been finalized, Warnock currently leads Walker by about 1 percentage point in Tuesday’s race.

Top of voters’ minds at the ballot box Tuesday were Walker’s towering list controversies, including allegations that he was violent towards women and that in at least two cases he paid for women to get abortions despite his staunch anti-abortion stance. Voters were also upset by the ways in which Walker misrepresented himself, from falsely alluding to being a law enforcement officer to lying about his college education to claiming a tax credit for a primary residence in Texas while running for office in Georgia.

Toby Cooper, whose job is scheduling commercials for radio stations, told Mother Jones she voted for Warnock. “I know they say politicians lie. But nowadays, more than ever, we need people who are going to be honest and really come in and help the people,” Cooper said of Walker after voting in Cobb County, Georgia on Tuesday. “The lying and the misrepresentation of himself was really kind of outrageous.”

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