ATLANTA—Republican challenger Herschel Walker sought to keep a slight lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock, the incumbent Democrat, in Georgia’s hotly contested race for U.S. Senate.
With 92% of the vote counted, Walker had 49.1% to Warnock’s 48.8%.
Walker, a former college and professional football player, and Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, were both well-known figures in the Peach State before entering politics.
Georgia proved again to be a pivotal contest in deciding which party controls the Senate, currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris ready to cast a tie-breaking vote to give Democrats a functional majority with the support of two independents.
“I voted all Republican because I don’t like how things are trending,” Steve Peterson told The Daily Signal early Tuesday after voting at a local church in Lilburn. “I want constitutionalists on the Supreme Court, so I want the Senate on the Republican side.”
But another Lilburn voter, Haseem Hironi, cast his vote in the opposite direction.
“I voted Democrat,” Hironi told The Daily Signal shortly after voting. “I believe they represent my views and interest and how I want the country to be run.”
Warnock, 53, won the Senate seat in a special election in Georgia in January 2021, defeating the incumbent Republican, Sen. Kelly Loeffler. His victory then, along with that of fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff over Georgia’s other Republican incumbent, Sen. David Perdue, gave Democrats their working majority.
In Georgia, if no candidate wins 50% of the vote, the top two finishers must compete in a runoff in four weeks. Chase Oliver ran as the Libertarian Party candidate in the Senate race.
Walker, 60, faced several personal issues, as women who asserted they were ex-girlfriends came forward to allege that the pro-life candidate pushed them to get abortions.
“There is a lot to Herschel Walker besides athletics. He was also successful in business,” Sheri Mitchell, a Gwinnett County voter, told The Daily Signal. “He has apologized for his past mistakes, and that makes a difference.”
Meanwhile, Warnock and a nonprofit affiliated with his church came under scrutiny for evictions of low-income residents from an apartment complex—in one case for as little as $28 in unpaid rent.
In the final stretch of the campaign, former President Barack Obama stumped for Warnock.
“I voted for Warnock because Hershel just looked like he didn’t know what he was doing,” Mimi Obong of Norcross told The Daily Signal. “I felt like I’d rather go with someone who looks like they know what they are doing than somebody who I think maybe someone else put you up to this and somebody else is pulling your strings. I don’t want that representing me.”
Former President Donald Trump backed Walker in both the Republican primary and the general election.
Warnock and Walker took increasingly swipes at one another, with Warnock calling Walker a “pathological liar” and Walker accusing Warnock of voting with President Joe Biden 96% of the time.
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