ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will meet in a Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia after neither reached the general election majority required under state law.
It’s the second time in the last two election cycles that a Georgia runoff could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.
That sets up a four-week blitz that again will test whether voters are more concerned about inflation under Democratic control of Washington or the Republican candidate’s rocky past.
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There weren’t enough outstanding votes left to count in Georgia to push Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock over the 50% threshold he needed. That deficit is what led AP to determine the race is headed to a runoff.
A runoff is nothing new to Warnock. He won his runoff against then-Senator Kelly Loeffler in 2020. That victory along with a separate runoff victory for the other Senate seat in Georgia, helped give Democrats a narrow majority.
As of Wednesday morning, Democrats had a chance to at least secure a 50-50 split in the Senate even without winning Georgia. Democrats were projected to win at least 48 seats and races in Arizona and Nevada had still not been called.
With a 50-50 split, Democrats would have control of the chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris, serving as Senate President, would have the tie-breaking vote on any simple majority bills.
Warnock styles himself as a pragmatist in a partisan era. Walker has tried to make the choice a referendum on national Democrats, caricaturing Warnock as a rubber-stamp for President Joe Biden amid sustained inflation.
The general election campaign was rife with vitriol over Walker’s past. It included accusations that he encouraged a former girlfriend to have a 2009 abortion, for which he allegedly paid.
Avoiding attacks on Walker in the summer and early fall, Warnock stepped up his strikes in the closing weeks. Walker, who supports a national ban on abortion, called the allegations “foolishness.”
Central Oregon Daily News contributed to this report.