CBS News predicts incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock to win the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia, defeating Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
This will be Warnock’s first full six-year term.
Warnock beat Walker by more than 37,000 votes in the general election, but with 49.4% of the vote, Warnock failed to clear the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off.
A record number of early voters took part in the second round, breaking all previous records. According to Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling, more than 1.8 million people voted early. Friday, the last day of early voting, was the biggest early voting day ever, with more than 353,000 Georgians casting their ballots. according to Gabriel Sterling, the state’s top elections official.
Early voting for the runoff has been highest in several Democratic counties around Atlanta, such as Fulton, Gwinnett and Dekalb counties. Some GOP leaders are looking ahead to the next election, knowing they need to boost their early voting numbers to be competitive.
“We need our voters to vote early,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News earlier Tuesday. “I’ve said it over and over again. In 2020, a lot of people said, ‘Don’t vote by mail, don’t vote early,’ and we have to stop that.”
A record number of early voters took part in the second round, breaking all previous records. According to Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling, more than 1.8 million people voted early. Friday, the last day of early voting, was the biggest early voting day ever, with more than 353,000 Georgians casting their ballots. according to Sterling.
Sinceand successfully defended the other up-and-coming seats in the November midterm elections, Democrats will retain control of the Senate regardless of Tuesday’s outcome. But they will have more power if they control the House 51-49 because they won’t have to work out a power-sharing deal with Republicans. This will be the last election in the 2022 midterm cycle.
Walker received a last-minute endorsement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former President Donald Trump held a televised rally for Walker over the weekend. Walker told CBS News’ Nicole Killion on Tuesday morning that he believes they will win by 100,000 votes.
Warnock spent Tuesday with the amateurs to get out of the vote. He told CBS News’ Nicole Killion that he thinks early voter turnout is good for his campaign and “now we’re going to win this election.”
According to polls on Election Day, Georgian voters are divided about the most important qualities of a candidate: 36% said the most important thing is that the candidate agrees with their values, while 32% said that the candidate’s honesty and integrity are most important. important to them.
Before the general election, Walker’s campaign was rocked in Octoberthat he paid for the abortion of at least one woman. He has denied the allegations, and national Republicans have stuck by him.
Georgia played a key role in the 2020 election, with both Senate seats contested., eventually flipping both seats from Republican to Democrat. Republican Senator David Perdue led Jon Ossoff with 49.7% of the vote after election night, but he lost in the January 5, 2021 runoff. In the race for the second seat, Warnock led incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler. In a 21-person race on Election Day, he won a special election to fill the vacancy left when Sen. Johnny Isakson resigned.
Elizabeth Campbell and Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.