Democratic incumbent: Sen. Raphael Warnock
Republican challenger: Retired football player Herschel Walker
In Georgia, one of the closest states in the 2020 presidential election, the marquee race in this year’s midterm elections is the Senate contest, which pits Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock against GOP challenger Herschel Walker. It is widely considered one of the most pivotal races for determining control of the Senate in January.
Walker’s critics have raised Walker’s personal issues, including past allegations of domestic violence, several publicly unacknowledged children, and recent accusations that Walker – an abortion opponent – encouraged a girlfriend to have an abortion and paid for it. His business and charity record has also been put under scrutiny. Walker, meanwhile, has criticized Warnock for voting consistently with President Joe Biden and for allegations that a company affiliated with Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Warnock is a longtime pastor, evicted residents from low-income housing.
For much of this year, Warnock has led Walker in polling, but only by 2 to 3 percentage points, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. While both candidates are Black, Warnock is polling much better among Black voters, and the political truism that the result will depend on turnout is expected to be accurate for this race.
One wrinkle is that Georgia requires the winner to secure a majority, so it’s possible that the race could go to a runoff, as it did in 2020 when Warnock won his office in a special election. A Libertarian candidate could draw a few percentage points on the Nov. 8 ballot, potentially keeping the first-place finisher under 50%. This year’s runoff, if necessary, would take place on Dec. 6.