According to NBC News, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia is expected to defeat Republican rival Herschel Walker in the state’s runoff election to secure a full six-year term in the Senate.
Democrats will gain a 51-49 Senate majority with Warnock’s predicted victory over Walker, capping a far better-than-expected midterm election for the party in charge of the White House.
It also represents a significant setback for former president Donald Trump, who supported Walker and ran for office. After many of his hand-picked candidates underperformed in crucial midterm elections, aiding Democrats in maintaining control of the upper chamber of Congress, Trump was already facing criticism from some Republicans.
“I’m grateful, Georgia. Tuesday night, Warnock tweeted, “We did it again.
The conclusion of Georgia’s drawn-out, fiercely contested Senate race could have a significant effect on Congress, both for the duration of President Joe Biden’s first term and for the 2024 cycle, when Democrats will once again face a difficult political landscape.
Because neither Warnock nor Walker received more than 50% of the vote in the general election on November 8, the contest was decided by a runoff. NBC News said that while Warnock received more votes than Walker, third-party candidate Chase Oliver, a Libertarian, only received slightly more than 2% of the vote, preventing any of the two front-runners from winning a majority.
Thank you, Georgia. We did it again. pic.twitter.com/jikuO5Kt8S
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 7, 2022
But because only Warnock and Walker were up for reelection in Georgia’s GOP-controlled governor’s race in November, Walker was not able to take advantage of any possible coattail impact.
Instead, as additional information about the former NFL player’s personal life came to light during the runoff period, Walker’s gaffe- and the scandal-plagued campaign was on full show.
After The Daily Beast and other media sources revealed that Walker, who had vehement anti-abortion beliefs on the campaign trail, had paid for an ex-abortion girlfriend’s years earlier, Republicans rallied around the former NFL player. Even as his adult son Christian Walker criticized his father on social media, Walker rejected the accusations. A second woman came forward less than two weeks before the elections and said Walker had pressured her into having an abortion.
Following his anticipated defeat, Christian Walker blamed Trump. “The Truth: Trump had been calling my father for months and COMMANDING that he run. Every intelligent person pleaded with him,” Christian wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night.
Before those claims surfaced, Walker’s private life had previously been under examination. Walker had admitted to fathering a number of other children earlier in the campaign who were not known to be linked to him.
The Senate run has also sparked concerns about Walker’s mental state, and Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, has come forward with new allegations of abuse and threatening behavior on his part.
Walker’s ex-girlfriend Cheryl Parsa recently made claims in The Daily Beast, accusing the Senate contender of violence and infidelity.
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After nearly two years in which the chamber was split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris controlled the tie-breaking vote, Warnock’s victory will give Democrats crucial sway in the Senate.
Democrats will acquire majorities on significant Senate committees with a 51-49 vote, which may make it simpler for them to confirm nominees.
The power of a few moderate Democrats, particularly Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who were essential to the party’s ability to carry legislation through the evenly divided Senate, could also be lessened.