By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO
The seesaw race in the Georgia State run-off election for the U.S. Senate handed incumbent Democratic United States Senator Raphael Warnock a victory against former football player and Republican candidate Herschell Walker.
According to information released at 12:54 a.m. on Dec. 7 by the Georgia Board of elections, a total of 3,518,244 voters took part in the run-off election. Warnock had 1,804,189 ballots cast in his favor, compared to Walker’s 1,714,055 votes. The state has 7,008,263 registered voters.
This was Ralph Warnock’s fifth time on the ballot in two years for the Georgia Senate seat. He had won all the past races, but had not gained the majority of the votes, which led to the run-off. This victory gives Senator Warnock a full six year term in the United States Senate.
Republicans had a lot riding on this race. A win for Walker would have put them even with Democrats in the United States Senate, with 50 democrats and 50 Republicans.
Democrats would have still controlled the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris having the authority to break a tie with vote, a power she has utilized in the last two years to keep the Democratic agenda moving. Often, Harris has found herself making compromises with Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
However, the Warnock victory gives the Democrats a clear majority with Republicans holding only 49 seats in the United States Senate.
In January, because of the election of Warnock to the Senate, Democratic majority leadership can set the make-up of the committees as they choose. What this does is keep democratic legislation from being watered down, compromised, or denied a vote by the full Senate.
Importantly, for President Biden the victory of Warnock gives him the flexibility to nominate whoever he wants to fill the nine federal appeals-court vacancies and six dozen federal district court vacancies. It also allows for the confirmation of other positions to be filled by the administration.
The election of Warnock also gives power to the Democrats to issue subpoena’s without support from Republicans.
The victory of Warnock in Georgia further signals a change in the demographics and a rise in the Black, Latino and Asian populations. The win lends Democrats more hope in swinging Georgia in future elections in the democratic column.
Some Republicans are pulling away from former President Trump and looking for new leadership of the party, while others are doubling down on their support of his rhetoric.
Collectively, $401 million was spent on the Georgia Senate campaign, making it one of the most expensive races in history.
When the polls closed, Senator Raphael Warnock held a less than .2 percent lead over his opponent Herschell Walker. In less than five minutes the lead switched giving Walker the lead and then flipped again in two more minutes, putting Senator Raphael Warnock back on top. That was the story for the next few hours with political pundits trying to predict the outcome of the race.
It was 10:30 p.m. when major television networks like CNN declared Senator Raphael Warnock the winner of the highly contested race.
It was 11 p.m. when Walker gave his concession speech and nearly 11:15 p.m. when Senator Raphael Warnock gave his victory speech, which was live streamed from his official social media accounts.
“Against unspeakable odds, here we stand together,” proclaimed Senator Raphael Warnock. As he ended his One More Time Tour and campaign, Warnock thanked God, his mother, his family, and Georgia residents for his victory.
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