Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker will face off against incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in a runoff election after neither candidate was able to secure over 50% of the vote in the state’s Senate race, according to a projection.
Warnock, the 53-year-old reverend from Atlanta, Georgia, was first elected to the Senate on January 5, 2021, after defeating GOP candidate Kelly Loeffler in a run-off election. Loeffler had been appointed to serve until an election, having replaced the late Johnny Isakson.
As a newcomer into politics, Walker spent much of his campaign tying Warnock to unpopular President Joe Biden and painted the Democrat as a divisive, out-of-touch progressive.
“Senator Warnock believes America is a bad country full of racist people,” Walker said in one ad. “I believe we’re a great country full of generous people. Warnock wants to divide us. I want to bring us together.”
Throughout the cycle, the outsider candidate received endorsements from former President Donald Trump and national GOP figures like former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Polls initially showed that Warnock had a massive advantage over Walker, but the race tightened in the final few months of the campaign, as evidenced by one exclusive Trafalgar/Daily Wire poll released in late October.
With a slight focus on social issues, Warnock touted his strong support for abortion right’s throughout the campaign, drawing criticism from fellow Christians for his anti-life stances.
For his part, Walker also faced accusations that he had previously paid for the abortion of two different women. Walker denied those accusations. The former Heisman Trophy winner was also accused by his own son of being an absent dad during his childhood.
Walker touted his strong support for the Trump agenda. Warnock — differing from other Georgia Democrats like Stacey Abrams — also touted his independent streak during the campaign, claiming to be somebody willing to go against the grain of his own party.
The Democratic incumbent also had a gigantic wealth advantage, having raised more than $101.7 million during the campaign. Walker only raised $37 million but was still able to compete with Warnock’s hefty war chest.
The close battle presented more evidence that the Peach Tree State is a purple state rather than a red or blue state.
Until 2021, Georgia had historically been a red state, but Warnock and Jon Ossoff flipped both Senate seats and Biden won the southern state for the Democratic Party for the first time in decades.
Georgia voters were particularly animated in this election, despite Democratic warnings that a 2021 voter integrity law signed by incumbent Governor Brian Kemp would disenfranchise millions of voters. Democrats warned the legislation would usher in a new era of “Jim Crow 2.0.” President Joe Biden said it would make that previous era of American history look like “Jim Eagle.”