Georgia Senate race between Warnock, Walker heads to runoff

The hard-fought Senate race in Georgia is heading into overtime.

Neither Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) nor Republican Herschel Walker is projected to score the majority support needed to clinch the hotly contested Senate seat. The results mean that one of the most competitive statewide contests in the country will be left unresolved for weeks.

You are reading: Georgia Senate race between Warnock, Walker heads to runoff

NBC News and CNN both projected the race would go to a runoff.

Under Georgia’s election laws, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent plus one to win an election outright.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker

Neither Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) nor Herschel Walker was projected to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the Nov. 8 election. (Greg Nash)

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Warnock and Walker will now advance to a Dec. 6 runoff election that will determine who will go to Washington next year.

A runoff in Georgia wasn’t entirely unexpected. The vast majority of polling in the race showed both candidates falling short of a majority in the lead-up to Election Day.

Still, the results carry a sense of maddening déjà vu for both parties. Two years ago, Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) advanced to runoffs against GOP incumbents in two Senate races in Georgia. Those runoffs ultimately ended in narrow wins for both Democrats — victories that handed their party Senate control.

Warnock is facing a much different political environment this year than he did in 2020. Democrats have played defense for much of the year, with Republicans hammering them over stubbornly high inflation, economic uncertainty and perceived rising crime.

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.)

Unlike his Senate race in 2020, Warnock, like Democrats across the country, has spent much of his reelection campaign playing defense. (Greg Nash)

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Still, Walker, who was endorsed by former President Trump last year, had more than his fair share of stumbles on the campaign trail. He repeatedly faced questions about his personal life, business record and qualifications to serve in public office.

Warnock, meanwhile, sought to solidify his reputation as one of the Democratic Party’s most accomplished fundraisers, raking in tens of millions of dollars that helped him outgun Walker in campaign spending.

A pastor at Atlanta’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock frequently leaned on his rhetorical acumen and affable persona during his campaign. He often cast himself as a restrained presence in a chaotic political environment, ignoring attacks from his critics and playing up his bipartisan achievements in Washington.

But that wasn’t enough to win him the election outright. With the general election out of the way, Warnock and Walker will now enter a chaotic four-week sprint to the runoff.

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