The last key battle of the mid-term elections in the United States comes to a head in the State of Georgia on Tuesday where a run-off election for the final outstanding U.S. Senate seat will be decided.
While Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives, they are seeking to expand their slim Senate majority where Vice President, Kamala Harris, currently casts a deciding vote in the evenly split upper House.
Incumbent Democratic Senator, Reverend Raphael Warnock, is up against the handpicked candidate of former President Donald Trump – former football star Herschel Walker – after both candidates failed to exceed the 50% threshold for outright victory in November’s election.
On the Democratic side is Reverend Raphael Warnock who is both a United States Senator and the Senior Pastor at the iconic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta; an establishment where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was co-pastor in the 60s until his assassination in 1968.
His Republican opponent is a former football running back and a former Heisman Trophy winner for being the most outstanding football player in college football.
Senator Warnock says: “If we have value, then we ought to have a voice in the direction of the country and our destiny within it. Georgia, it’s time to raise your voice because this race is about character and competence. Oh, I know, I know we have political differences. And that’s part of what makes this country a great country. But let me tell you, in my race, this is not about Republican and Democrat. This is not about right and left. This is about the difference between right and wrong.”
Warnock edged Walker in November’s first round by over 36 000 votes, but both failed to reach the 50% threshold required by Georgia’s electoral law – giving the incumbent a slight edge over the Trump-endorsed nominee, speaker here.
“I don’t come to lose. And I told you he’s going to be tough to beat. He’s going to be tough to beat. But let me tell you why he got around Georgia here. So I want to tell you, if you can hang in, hanging out a little bit longer, just hang in there a little bit longer because something good, it takes a while to get better.”
Republicans vs Democrats battle
While Republicans are desperate to win this race in order to achieve parity in the Senate, Democrats want to extend their majority by one seat in order to more easily avoid Senate deadlocks, accelerate the senate process and allow themselves greater leeway in judicial confirmation including to the Supreme Court – with top surrogates playing a key role in pressing the arguments for both sides, including former president Barack Obama for Warnock.
“Let me break it down for you. An extra Senator gives Democrats more breathing room on important bills. It prevents one person from holding up everything and it also puts us in a better position, a couple of years from now when you’ve got another election. They’re watching right now to see if we’re going to get tired and I’m going to tell them right now, ‘we’re not going to get tired.’ We are going to bring it on home.”
Trump ally and Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham, is campaigning for Walker.
“What does it matter if there’s 50 versus 51 – a hell of a lot. If its 50-50 we have the same number on the committee, we share the same amount of money, if its 51-49 – they’re in charge of everything. Don’t’ let us down folks, don’t let Hershel down. Don’t let him down cause if you’re a conservative, don’t you think we need more people of colour running?”
More than 1.85 million votes have already been cast in early voting which ended on Friday.
According to data company TargetSmart, Democrats are outpacing Republicans in early voting by a margin of 52 to 39% while a new CNN poll gives Warnock a 4-point advantage heading into the final day of voting. But the numbers that matter most are the ones tallied after polls close in Georgia on Tuesday night.