Georgia Senate race: Walker and Warnock may be headed for December runoff

warnock walker georgia senate race Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, (left) speaks at a campaign event on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (right) speaks to supporters in Kennesaw, Georgia, Nov. 7, 2022. The two squared off in a tight race Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. If neither candidate receives 50% plus one vote needed, they will head to a runoff in December. | Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images and Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

The hard-fought Georgia Senate race between Republican Herschel Walker and the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Raphael Warnock, could be headed for a runoff election on Dec. 6 as neither candidate has received more than 50% of the votes required by law to secure a victory.

In a race in which the candidates spent more than $241 million, Herschel, a former All-Pro NFL running back, and Warnock, an Atlanta pastor, were locked in a virtual dead heat into the wee hours of election night. With 95% of the vote counted, Warnock had captured 49.4% of the vote, Walker had 48.5%, while the Libertarian candidate, Chase Oliver, had 2.1%. 

A runoff would pit the top two candidates against each other. Last week, FiveThirtyEight, the opinion poll analysis website, predicted that if the race were to go to a runoff, Walker would have about a 68% chance of winning. 

The race was among the most closely watched in the nation, as its outcome was expected to determine which party would control the U.S. Senate. Indeed, on election night, it became clear that for Republicans to take back control of the Senate, they would have to win two out of the three seats in the states of Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada.

On the eve of the election, polls had showed Walker up by 1%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Less than a month earlier, Warnock had led by more than 4%.

The race remained competitive in the weeks before the election in spite of the negative publicity Walker received following allegations that he had pressured two former girlfriends to get abortions. Walker campaigned on a pro-life platform, while Warnock called abortion a “core constitutional principle.” 

According to the EWTN News/RealClearPolitics poll taken from Oct. 14 to 18, 64.7% of Catholic voters favored Walker, while just 32.7% said they would support Warnock.

In the end, Georgians had the economy on their minds. A Landmark Communications poll taken just before the election showed that a majority (52%) saw inflation and the economy as the most important issue or problem, while 17% named abortion, and 13% cited election integrity as the most important issue.

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