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Warnock Defeats Walker in Georgia’s Runoff Election, Handing Democrats a Slim Majority in Senate

Published: December 7, 2022
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) speaks during an election night watch party at the Marriott Marquis on Dec. 6, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Sen. Warnock defeated his Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election. (Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Incumbent Sen. Ralph Warnock has defeated Republican opponent Herschel Walker in the highly contested Georgia Senate runoff election handing the Democratic Party a slim majority, 51-49, in the upper chamber of U.S. Congress. 

The race was called by numerous media outlets around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Dec. 6, with 94 percent of the vote counted.

When the race was called, Warnock was ahead by approximately 41,000 votes, or 1.2 percent of the total. Just after midnight the state reported Warnock was ahead by 90,000 votes.

Walker, who had gathered with his supporters at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame conceded the race late on Tuesday a few blocks away from where Warnock had gathered with his supporters at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.  

“I’m not going to make any excuses now, because we put up one heck of a fight,” Walker told his supporters as he conceded on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters. 

Democrats have now walked away with the Georgia Senate seat in three Senate races over the past two years in the former Republican stronghold.

Warnock’s win was driven by a strong showing in urban and suburban counties, particularly in Atlanta’s Fulton County, where he won 77 percent of the vote, a higher percentage than he had garnered in November. According to various outlets, Warnock was helped by the changing political orientation of suburban voters in Atlanta, a phenomenon seem more broadly across the U.S.

Democrats now have a majority in the Senate but lost seats in the less-powerful House of Representatives — which gives the Democrats more opportunities to pass their preferred laws, set up commissions, and launch investigations. Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris is on hand to break any ties should one or two Democrat senators vote against party lines.

Walker’s defeat comes as another highly contested Senate race comes to a close in Arizona where Arizona state officials met on Monday to conduct the state’s vote canvass and officially declare the winner from last month’s midterm elections. 

Republicans have seized on unexplained printer malfunctions in the most populous jurisdiction of Maricopa County as reason to contest the results. Arizona election officials insist that no voter was disenfranchised by the widespread problems with the voting machines on Election Day, Nov. 8 that resulted in long lines and frustration at the polls.

Arizona’s Republican gubernational candidate Kari Lake has continued to challenge the controversial result, per which election officials claim she lost to Democrat counterpart Katies Hobbs by 17,000 votes.