Polls CLOSE in Georgia: Wait begins for results in race between Walker, Warnock
Georgia’s polls closed at 7 pm, with Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock taking an early lead over Republican Herschel Walker as votes cast early were reported first.
Walker is expected to close the gap as the count goes on.
The race will determine whether the Democrats win an outright majority in the upper chamber, or will continue to need the assistance of Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker vote.
If Warnock wins, Democrats will also gain a majority on Senate committees. The current 50-50 makeup means that committees have equal members of each party, making it more difficult for legislation to pass through.
Journalists on the ground, including from The New York Times, reported that few voters encountered long Election Day lines, while in the Atlanta area some voters who voted early waited for more than two hours.
Gabrielle Sterling, the chief operating officer in the office of the Georgia Secretary of State, tweeted around noon that the average wait time for voters statewide was three minutes, with the longest recorded being 32 minutes in Cherokee County.
At around 4 pm, the state was averaging a one-minute wait time, Sterling later tweeted.
A voter casts a ballot in-person during Tuesday’s Senate runoff race in Georgia. Republicans are banking on good turnout today, as the early vote tends to boost Democratic candidates
Republican candidate Herschel Walker poses for a picture with a supporter at the Marietta Diner, where he made an Election Day stop Tuesday
A supporter takes a selfie with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who’s hoping to win a full six-year term in the US Senate Tuesday
During campaign trail appearances Tuesday, Warnock and Walker had fighting words about each other.
‘Right now, I’ll put my character against Raphael Warnock any day,’ Walker said at an Election Day campaign stop at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia, after a reporter pointed out that ‘the issue of character is very important to voters’ ‘
Walker, a Georgia football Heisman winner and ex-NFL player backed by former President Donald Trump, had a number of accusations thrown at him during his run, including that the pro-life Republican pressured girlfriends to have abortions and was abusive toward family members.
Walker denied the abortion claims and said he’s been up front about past mental health struggles.
Walker is hoping to oust Warnock from his Senate seat, keeping the Democrats at a 50-50 split, instead of a true majority, should the Democrats win. However, every single poll conducted during the runoff period has shown Warnock ahead.
Warnock gathered supporters at a canvass kick-off event in Norcross, Georgia and remarked how he had been on the ballot five times in just over two years.
‘So I’m fully acquainted with tired,’ he said. ‘But let me tell you my definition of tired this morning: having to be represented by Herschel Walker for six years.’
‘That, my friends, would be exhausting,’ the Democrat added.
‘Right now, I’ll put my character against Raphael Warnock any day,’ said Republican Herschel Walker (right) at an Election Day campaign stop Tuesday at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia
‘But let me tell you my definition of tired this morning: having to be represented by Herschel Walker for six years,’ said Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock from Norcross, Georgia on Tuesday
Georgia voters wait in line to vote Tuesday in the state’s runoff Senate race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker
Warnock and his top surrogate, former President Barack Obama, have characterized Walker as someone clueless about public policy, who won’t be able to do the job of US senator.
Warnock hasn’t helped himself – going viral when he talked about preferring to be a werewolf over a vampire at a campaign stop in mid-November – and accidentally saying that this ‘erection is about the people.’
‘The people of Georgia deserve someone who will walk with them. And Georgia’s better than Herschel Walker,’ Warnock said Tuesday morning.
‘I’m not talking about his humanity. I’m talking about his fitness to serve,’ Warnock continued.
‘Georgia’s better than that,’ he added.
Warnock has already served two years in the Senate after his 2020 special election went to a runoff against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who Republican Gov. Brian Kemp was selected to take the place of retiring GOP Sen. To install Johnny Isaacson. Warnock’s win on January 5, 2021 was to finish Isakson’s remaining two-year term.
After winning a primary and qualifying for the runoff in 2022, he’s on the ballot to win a full, six-year term.
Warnock said the Democrats weren’t leaving anything up to chance.
‘Which is why we’re standing out here getting sprinkled and baptized again,’ said Warnock, who serves as the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preaching.
A sample ballot is displayed at Zion Baptist Church during the midterm Senate runoff elections in Marietta, Georgia
Voters wait in line outside a polling place Tuesday in Columbus, Georgia to decide the final Senate race of the 2022 midterms
Residents stand outside an Atlanta polling place holding umbrellas on Senate runoff Election Day in Georgia
Warnock warned that while early voting looked strong – nearly 2 million Georgians went to the polls before Election Days with Democrats tending to prefer early voting – Walker still had ‘a path.’
‘The job is not done. The truth is my opponent could still win this election,’ Warnock said. ‘More of our voters tend to vote during the early period and more of his voters tend to vote on election day.’
At the Marietta Diner, Walker expressed optimism that he would pull it out.
‘Gonna get out and win this election. Herschel Walker’s gonna be your senator and gonna get things changed,’ he told reporters.
The men are on the ballot again because neither hit the requisite 50 percent plus one vote to win the race outright in November.
In the initial vote, Warnock finished ahead with 1,943,737 votes to Walker’s 1,907,272 votes, or 0.9 percent.
As he left the diner Tuesday, Walker refused to answer a question of whether he would concede.