ATLANTA – The last seat in the U.S. Senate has been decided.
After a hotly-contested runoff in Georgia, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock won re-election Tuesday evening, beating football star and GOP candidate Herschel Walker by about 2 percentage points.
Soon after 10 p.m. on election night — about three hours after polls closed — it became clear that Warnock would win re-election. The large crowd at his watch party celebrated.
“After a hard-fought campaign, you got me for six more years,” Warnock said.
It’s Warnock’s first full term.
Warnock earned nearly 100,000 more votes than his competitor. Walker conceded Tuesday night, thanking his supporters.
“So I want to say I’m never going to stop fighting for Georgia. I’m never going to stop fighting for you because you’re my family,” Walker said.
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Georgia was in the national spotlight, and voters turned out in record numbers. More than 3.5 million Georgians voted in this runoff race, just one month after the midterm elections. That’s more than half of all registered voters — 50.47%.
Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the election was safe, fair and record-setting.
“Well, there’s no truth to voter suppression. Yesterday, we had 1.6 million people show up to vote. That’s more than we had a month ago. It’s also more than we had in November 2020. We had record turnout. But then the total turnout we had for a runoff, that’s the largest turnout we’ve ever had for a midterm election,” Raffensperger said Wednesday.
Warnock’s win means that Democrats now have 51 senators in Washington, as compared to the Republicans, who have 49. That means the Democratic Party has control of the Senate, and many people in the Republican Party are upset, saying that Walker was not the right candidate to run for their ticket.
“He didn’t earn my respect of my vote throughout the process. I mean, was it the part that he actually lived in Texas, tried to call Georgia home? Was it the fact that he never articulated a single policy position, not one single one? Was it that he took on the allegations about his personal behavior by calling everyone a liar?” said Republican Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.
While Walker dominated traditionally red rural counties in Georgia, and Warnock had a stronghold in the blue bigger cities, the race came down to the suburbs — which gave the incumbent Senator the votes he needed to win.
COUNTY BY COUNTY: Results in Georgia’s Senate runoff
“As Republicans, who want to do some soul searching, we need to win back the suburbs. That used to be our bread and butter,” Raffensperger said.
It’s a big victory for the Biden administration. President Joe Biden called Warnock Tuesday night to congratulate him.
Now, because that spread between Warnock was more than a half-percent and because Walker conceded to defeat, there will not be a recount in the state of Georgia.