1670552781 origin 1

Runoff in Georgia: US Democratic Senator Warnock beats Trump-backed rival

origin 1

By Nathan Layne

ATLANTA (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Democrat Raphael Warnock won re-election to the US Senate in a closely contested runoff in Georgia on Tuesday, bolstering his party’s slim majority as he rejected a challenge from Republican former soccer star Herschel Walker.

Warnock’s anticipated victory was narrow. With 99% of the estimated vote counted, he led Walker by 50.8% to 49.2%, according to Edison Research.

The result solidifies Georgia as a battleground state certain to play a leading role in the 2024 presidential election. Democrats have won three Senate races in the past two years in the former Republican stronghold, and Democratic President Joe Biden led the state in 2020.

“Let’s party for a while on this mountain. We dance because we deserve it. But tomorrow we’re going back down to do the work,” Warnock, a Baptist preacher, told a cheering crowd of well-wishers.

Walker’s defeat is also a setback for Donald Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024. The former president endorsed Walker and dozens of other high-profile Republicans in this week’s midterm elections. year, but finishes with a mixed record in his most competitive races.

Walker’s campaign was plagued by repeated gaffes. A vocal anti-abortion advocate, he has also been dogged by reports that he has paid multiple ex-girlfriends to get abortions, allegations he has denied.

Warnock highlighted these concerns in campaign appearances and a flurry of TV commercials that made the race the most expensive of the 2022 intermediate season, at more than $400 million spent.

“I’m not going to make excuses now, because we had a really bad fight,” Walker told fans as he admitted on Tuesday.

In the Atlanta ballroom, where Warnock supporters gathered on election night, several hundred revelers broke into cheers as U.S. television networks called the race.

Many started dancing, some held their drinks in the air and others took selfies to commemorate the moment. The group, a mix of young people, political activists and wealthy professionals and donors, reflected the coalition of voters Warnock tapped into to win the contest.

The contest went to a runoff after neither candidate garnered 50% of the vote on Nov. 8.

Warnock’s victory was fueled by a strong demonstration in urban and suburban counties, including Atlanta’s Fulton County, where the incumbent Democrat won 77 percent of the vote, a higher share than he got in November.

Democrats are now on track for a 51-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate, which will make it slightly easier to advance Biden’s candidates for judicial and administrative jobs.

Much of the legislation will still require Republican support. But, with one more vote added, Democrats now may not always need the cooperation of centrist Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who were often at odds with their party as Democrats tried to push forward the ambitious legislative agenda. of Biden in the past two years.

They will, however, face a more formidable roadblock in the US House of Representatives after Republicans won a narrow majority on Nov. 8, even though they fell short of the “red wave” that some members of the party they had anticipated.

Warnock, who like Walker is black, is the pastor of the historic Atlanta church where slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. It’s his second runoff win in two years, after winning the seat in January 2021.

Venkayla Haynes, 28, said Warnock’s victory was particularly significant after months of organizing efforts to win the vote for both the general election and runoff elections.

“I’m very happy, I’m very excited that we won and that black people have a candidate who represents the community and the issues they care about,” Haynes said as she danced at Warnock’s victory party.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne; Additional reporting by Jason Lange, Costas Pitas, Eric Beech and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone and Rosalba O’Brien)

origin 1
origin 1
origin 1