The race between Walker and Warnock heads into the second round
ATLANTA — Georgia’s Senate race is heading for a runoff, NBC News projected Wednesday, with neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker going over the 50% needed under state law to win. in the first ballot.
The runoff will take place Dec. 6, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Both campaigns were gearing up for this Tuesday night as results came in and showed a close contest.
The contest pitted Warnock, who was elected in a 2020 special election, against Walker, a former soccer star who was encouraged by former President Donald Trump to run. Walker, a first-time political candidate, won an early endorsement from Trump and all but wiped out the Republican primary field.
Walker trailed in the polls for months, dogged by revelations about his tumultuous past. In the past month, he has faced allegations of two women who claimed he pressured them into having abortions years ago. He denied the charges and accused the women of lying. But he gained ground in the run-up to Election Day as he sought to rally the GOP base on cultural issues and link Warnock to President Joe Biden, blaming the two Democrats for rising inflation and of crime.
Warnock largely veered to the center, pointing to his work on lowering prescription drug and insulin prices and his partnerships with Republican senators to build highways in the South and help peanut farmers. He sought out voters sharing the tickets, but sharpened his tone in the home stretch by calling his opponent outrageous, dishonest and unfit to be a US senator.
If Democrats finish with 49 Senate seats before the runoff, the runoff will decide which party controls the chamber.
In 2020, Georgia held two Senate contests that ended in a runoff. Both GOP incumbents were defeated by Democrats, including Warnock, giving the party just enough votes to grab the Senate.