Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) will return to the US Senate for a full six-year term after defeating Republican Herschel Walker by a three-point margin – 51 to 48%.
Republicans in other parts of the country came up short compared to expectations on Election Day this November. In Georgia, however, Governor Brian Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams convincingly by focusing on his low-key governing style during difficult times, which attracted independent voters and unified his
Republican base. In fact, under his leadership, Republicans won every state constitutional office and maintained their hold in the State House and State Senate. In some counties, Republicans won by margins they had not held in several years. As a result, while the “red wave” may not have materialized elsewhere, it rose off the coast of Savannah and swept through the mountains of North Georgia.
In Georgia’s US Senate Race, however, neither candidate could garner the 50% percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff. Georgians got to enjoy four more weeks of campaign ads along with their Thanksgiving festivities. Herschel Walker was recruited for the race and heavily supported by former President Donald
Trump. As a result, Walker was able to glide past his opponents, in the primary election, due to his football success and charisma, in addition to the former president’s support. This winning combination, however, did not translate to the broader state electorate, as he was hit repeatedly over allegations about his
For his part, Senator Warnock shied away from sharp ideological language and hammered away at his willingness to cross the political aisle to get things done for Georgia, trumpeting his support for programs such as capping the cost of insulin. Although he came up short of 50% in the General Election, he outpaced every other state-wide Democrat on the ballot and recruited thousands of Kemp-Warnock voters to his cause.
Walker’s strongest argument was always his ability to give Republicans control of the US Senate and provide a check on President Joe Biden. However, in last month’s General Election, Democrats won enough Senate seats in other states to barely hold on to control of the Senate. This outcome elsewhere hampered Walker’s argument and made it more difficult for him to excite the GOP base and bring in more moderate voters.
So what should we make of this 2022 election season that is finally over in Georgia? Georgia voters have produced two rising national stars – Republican Brian Kemp and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. While they come from two different sides of the political spectrum, both got reelected by putting aside sharp political partisan rhetoric and emphasizing the need for elected officials to work together and govern.
That is a pretty good thing for our state, regardless of which party you support.