The fight for control of the US Senate could come down to Georgia – again.
For the second time in less than two years, the Peach State, which elected two Democratic senators in the last election cycle, is hosting a contest that has gripped both national parties and potentially holds the key to the fate of President Joe’s program. Biden.
This time around, however, at least one key feature of the race has been reversed: Democrat Raphael Warnock went from challenger to incumbent, trying to fend off Republican nominee Herschel Walker. The former football great, recruited and endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has had an uneven campaign and spent the past month beset by controversy, but is still neck and neck with Warnock with an early vote at the high gear and election day is approaching.
A Warnock victory would likely prevent Republicans from gaining a majority in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting decisively. That reality, coupled with headwinds — in the form of economic angst and Biden’s low approval ratings — familiar to Democrats across the country, helped rally Republicans behind Walker.
Highlighting his party’s mix of ambivalence and political pragmatism, former Vice President Mike Pence after failing to mention Walker during his remarks at a rally in Cumming, Georgia, on Tuesday for the GOP governor Brian Kemp told reporters that he “supports the whole (Republican) ticket here in Georgia.
The race’s most recent poll, from The New York Times and Siena College, showed no clear leader, with 49% of likely voters backing Warnock versus 46% backing Walker – a difference well within the margin of error of investigation. Another poll, from Fox News at the end of October, also found a remarkably tight contest, with Warnock at 44% and Walker at 43%. If none of the candidates obtains a majority of votes, the race would be decided in the second round on December 6.
Walker, whose candidacy has suffered a barrage of policy gaffes, most recently faced allegations from two women who say he pressured them into having abortions. Walker has denied the allegations, and CNN has not independently confirmed them. But the women’s demands run counter to the candidate’s past statements in favor of a total federal abortion ban with no exceptions. (More recently, he backtracked on those remarks and said he supports Georgia law, which bans abortions after about six weeks but has exceptions for cases of rape or incest, pending a police report. timely, and in certain cases where the health of the pregnant person is at risk.)
Warnock, meanwhile, initially sought to avoid tackling the controversy directly. But at the end of last month he launched a TV ad called “Hypocrite”.
“For you, Herschel Walker wants to ban abortion,” a narrator says, before playing out comments the Republican made in support of no exceptions to a nationwide ban on abortion. “But for himself,” the narrator then asks before broadcasting reports on the allegations.
Warnock’s play to undecided voters and moderates has centered on his efforts to expand access to health care — he often cites his work to lower the cost of insulin — as well as his bipartisan record in the Senate.
“I will work with anyone if it means helping Georgia,” he said in another announcement, hammering home a message that the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta repeated at rallies and during his only debate with the Republican.
But with rising inflation worries and Biden’s unpopularity, he kept the president at bay. Instead, former President Barack Obama was the Democrats’ pick to increase Georgia voters — and deliver a tough case against Walker.
“There is very little evidence that he took an interest in, took the trouble to learn anything about, or showed any inclination for public service or voluntary work or for helping people of all way,” Obama said of Walker at a rally for Warnock last week at the College. To park.
Walker’s campaign has been heavily trafficked in culture war rhetoric, as well as criticism of inflation and crime rates under Biden, which he has sought to tie as closely as possible. at Warnock.
“For those of you who are worried about voting for me, a non-politician,” Walker said during their debate, “I want you to think about the damage that politicians like Joe Biden and Raphael Warnock have done. done to this country.”