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.