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Raphael Warnock’s win cements Democrats’ 2024 blueprint

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s path to winning Georgia’s runoff is the one Democrats will need to win the 2024 presidential election in what has been a very red state: Maintaining their edge in the suburbs — while motivating the Black base to turn out.

Why it matters: Warnock’s victory gives Democrats a pivotal 51st Senate seat, up from 50 in this Congress, where Vice President Kamala Harris had to break ties.

  • That means more of President Biden’s judicial nominees can be confirmed — and gives Democrats near-unilateral power to issue subpoenas without Republican buy-in.

Warnock beat Republican Herschel Walker 51% to 49%, in a race AP called at 10:26 p.m.

  • In November, Warnock led 49% to 48%, with Libertarian Chase Oliver getting 2%.

The $401 million race was the nation’s most expensive, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

  • “An astonishing $1.4 billion has been spent on just four races in the state since the beginning of 2020,” The New York Times found.

Reality check: Walker’s loss caps a historic GOP embarrassment. 2022 is the first midterm election since 1934 — 88 years ago — when the party in power successfully defended every incumbent Senate seat.

  • Celebrity candidates endorsed by President Trump — including Walker, a Heisman Trophy winner — performed disastrously this cycle, squandering numerous winnable races across the country.

What happened: The biggest GOP culprit was candidate recruitment.

  • Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), head of the GOP’s Senate campaign committee, made a point of staying out of primaries. That allowed not-ready-for-prime-time candidates to emerge as nominees.

The bottom line: In Georgia, Walker was the only statewide Republican candidate who lost. The GOP swept every other office — from governor to state insurance commissioner.

  • Gov. Brian Kemp (R) won re-election by 7½ points.