NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

Senator Raphael Warnock is the projected winner of the 2022 Georgia Senate runoff

Trail­blaz­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Raphael Warnock of Geor­gia has pre­vailed over Repub­li­can chal­lenger Her­schel Walk­er in a runoff elec­tion and will return to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for a six-year term rep­re­sent­ing the Peach State, giv­ing Democ­rats a fifty-one vote major­i­ty in the Sen­ate for the 118th Congress.

With 96.03% of the esti­mat­ed vote count­ed, Warnock had a 57,240 vote lead over Walk­er, a for­mer grid­iron star who dis­graced him­self on the cam­paign trail with a series of inco­her­ent, ridicu­lous state­ments. Warnock had a total of 1,752,384 votes — 50.8%, while Walk­er had 1,695,144 votes — 49.2%.

Rev­erend Warnock­’s pro­ject­ed hard-fought vic­to­ry (which still must be con­firmed by offi­cial returns) brings the 2022 midterm cycle to a close on a high note for Democ­rats. They have now suc­ceed­ed in defend­ing every sin­gle incum­bent who was up in 2022, from Mag­gie Has­san in New Hamp­shire to Cather­ine Cortez Mas­to in Neva­da and Mark Kel­ly in Ari­zona to Warnock in Georgia.

Not since 1934 has the pres­i­den­t’s par­ty defend­ed every incum­bent sen­a­tor’s seat in a midterm elec­tion. It’s a tru­ly his­toric accomplishment.

Until 2020, when Warnock first won along with seat­mate Jon Ossoff (who did not face vot­ers this year because he was elect­ed to a full six-year term), Geor­gia had not elect­ed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate in two decades.

Before them, the last Demo­c­rat to win in the Peach State was the unfaith­ful Zell Miller, elect­ed in 2000 to replace Repub­li­can Paul Coverdell. Miller would mem­o­rably endorse George W. Bush and attack his own par­ty at the 2004 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion; he was suc­ceed­ed by Repub­li­can John­ny Isakson.

The last sit­ting Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor to win con­sec­u­tive elec­tions in Geor­gia was the leg­endary Sam Nunn, who served from Novem­ber 8th, 1972 – until Jan­u­ary 3rd, 1997. Nunn was suc­ceed­ed by anoth­er Demo­c­rat, Max Cle­land, who could­n’t hang on against the odi­ous Sax­by Cham­b­liss twen­ty years ago.

The seat once held by Nunn and Cle­land is now held by Ossoff, while Rev­erend Warnock holds the oth­er seat — one that has often alter­nat­ed between Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tion since the 1980s.

(Before then, from the Civ­il War through the Carter years, it was won con­tin­u­ous­ly by Democ­rats as part of the “Sol­id South.”)

Warnock utter­ly crushed Walk­er in met­ro­pol­i­tan Atlanta, tak­ing near­ly 90% of the vote in heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic DeKalb Coun­ty, and also win­ning the coun­ties in which Augus­ta, Savan­nah, and Colum­bus are locat­ed. Addi­tion­al­ly, Warnock suc­ceed­ed in keep­ing Walk­er’s mar­gins in check in many impor­tant rur­al counties.

The result was a nar­row win, but not a razor-thin one.

“I want to say thank you from the bot­tom of my heart… and to God be the glo­ry,” said Warnock in a vic­to­ry speech short­ly before 11:15 PM Eastern.

“I often say that a vote is a kind of prayer for a world we desire for our­selves and our chil­dren,” he added. “Vot­ing is faith put into action.”

“And Geor­gia, you have been pray­ing with your lips and your legs! With your hands and your feet, your heads, and your hearts.”

“You have put in the hard work and here we are stand­ing together!”

Before net­works called the race for Warnock, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden was asked (accord­ing to a pool report) about the Geor­gia runoff.

Biden shout­ed back (from the tar­mac of Joint Base Andrews, where he had just land­ed): “We’re going to win. We’re going to win Georgia.”

Biden then board­ed a pres­i­den­tial lim­ou­sine for a motor­cade ride back to the White House (skip­ping the usu­al heli­copter ride due to bad weather).

In a state­ment sent to NPI, NextGen Amer­i­ca cel­e­brat­ed the impact of the young vot­ers who showed up to pro­pel Warnock to victory.

Senator Raphael Warnock makes a reelection pitch

Sen­a­tor Raphael Warnock explains how the Unit­ed States would ben­e­fit from an expand­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic U.S. Sen­ate major­i­ty and con­tin­ued Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of the U.S. House (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

“Young peo­ple across Geor­gia showed up, vot­ed, and fought for a bet­ter future this elec­tion,” NextGen PAC Pres­i­dent and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Cristi­na Tzintzún Ramirez said. “NextGen is excit­ed to cel­e­brate the youth-led vic­to­ry of Sen­a­tor Warnock.”

“From abor­tion rights to eco­nom­ic jus­tice, young peo­ple across the state resound­ing­ly sup­port pro­gres­sive can­di­dates and ini­tia­tives that promise equi­ty and jus­tice for all. Lead­ing up to the runoff elec­tion, NextGen con­nect­ed with thou­sands of vot­ers across the state to make sure they had a plan to show up to fight for the issues they care about. Young Geor­gians’ mes­sage is clear – extrem­ist Repub­li­cans and their val­ues do not rep­re­sent our vision for the future.”

“Tonight, Geor­gia vot­ers re-elect­ed a cham­pi­on for clean ener­gy jobs and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, Sen­a­tor Raphael Warnock,” said Ever­green Action Chief of Staff Lena Moffitt.

“In just his first two years in office, we’ve already seen Sen­a­tor Warnock intro­duce leg­is­la­tion to cham­pi­on Amer­i­can solar man­u­fac­tur­ing and cast a cru­cial vote for the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, the most sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in cli­mate and clean ener­gy in Amer­i­can history.”

“Sen­a­tor Warnock’s strong cli­mate record no doubt inspired young vot­ers, the demo­graph­ic most like­ly to be con­cerned about cli­mate change who turned out in record num­bers in Geor­gia this elec­tion cycle. Warnock’s cam­paign placed Her­schel Walker’s bizarre cli­mate change posi­tions front and cen­ter in the clos­ing days, and Geor­gia vot­ers reject­ed a cli­mate-deny­ing extrem­ist. Tonight’s results show yet again that cli­mate change is a win­ning issue.”

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