By Rachel Spears
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock will continue to serve as a Georgia senator after defeating Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff election.
The midterm elections took place on November 8th, 2022 in all fifty states. In Georgia, a race for the U.S. Senate took place. The three candidates: Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock, Republican Herschel Walker, and Libertarian Chase Oliver, faced off on election day but all failed to receive a majority of the vote. According to the Georgia State Legislature, a candidate must win more than 50% of the vote to be declared the winner of a race. Oliver, who won more than 2% of the electorate, forced a runoff election that took place on December 6th. In the November election, Warnock edged out Walker by just under 40,000 votes.
Warnock’s victory was announced on December 6. With 95% of the vote reported, Warnock had a lead of more than 90,000 votes and it was confirmed that Warnock would be declared the winner.
Warnock finished with 51.4% of the vote, about 1,816,096 voters, exceeding the 50% threshold required for a win. Walker received 48.6% of the vote, with 1,719,483 voters.
Early Wednesday morning, Warnock celebrated his victory. ¨Thank you, Georgia! We did it again! Thank you so much for your trust in me and to God be the glory!¨ he said. In his acceptance speech, he emphasized his deep Georgia roots and the strength of the American democracy that has been demonstrated through the high voter turnout.
Walker conceded to Warnock on election night but remains strong in his support for the state of Georgia where he grew up. “I’m never gonna stop fighting for Georgia,” he said. “There’s excuses in life and I am not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight,” he added in his concession speech.
The race featured historical spending. More than $425 million were spent by both candidates in the months leading up to the election. Warnock won the money race, raising almost double the amount of cash that Walker raised. This is partially due to Warnock’s position as an incumbent Senator which gave him an inherent advantage in the race, explained Anna Massoglia, the editorial and investigations manager at OpenSecrets.
1.9 million votes were cast by mail or during early voting prior to election day. It has been estimated that 49% of early votes were from Democrats, while 41% of early votes were cast by Republicans. The increase in early vote turnout during the runoff election favored Democrat Sen. Warnock who, after the early vote was counted, took a larger lead.
For Democrats, spirits are high after securing a 51-49 majority in the Senate but for reelected Senator Warnock, the work continues. “But the scripture says the light shines in the darkness and the darkness overcometh it not and I know with all my heart that our best days are ahead of us,” Warnock said.