Georgia runoff results - live: Polls close as incumbent Warnock battles Walker for crucial Senate seat

Georgia will again go to the polls today (Tuesday) in a runoff election for the US Senate between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and former football star Herschel Walker for the Republican Party.

With a win for either party having important ramifications for the running of the Senate, the party faithful from both sides have been making a final-stretch effort to support their candidate.

The latest polls indicate fading hopes for the Republicans, however, as Mr Warnock – the first Black US senator from Georgia – rides ahead of his rival in the race to win a full six-year term. His victory would give Democrats a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

The two candidates offer a stark choice to the Black voters in the state. Mr Warnock, a senior minister of Martin Luther King’s Atlanta church, echoes traditional liberal notions of the Black experience, while Mr Walker, a University of Georgia football icon, advocates the language of white cultural conservatism, as he mocks the Democratic incumbent’s interpretations of King.

Voting in Georgia opens at 7am and closes at 7pm on Tuesday evening, with initial trends expected to emerge quickly after the closing of the polls.

Key points

  • When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results

  • Warnock, Walker offer starkly different choices for Black voters as the incumbent races ahead in midterm

  • Herschel Walker upset by Obama mocking his vampire vs werewolf debate

  • Record daily early voter turnout across state

  • Warnock holds slight lead in polling average

Polls close in Georgia in runoff to decide control of Senate

00:04 , Josh Marcus

Polls are officially closed in Georgia for the runoff race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, though those in line now will still be able to cast their choice in the Senate race.

It’s unclear when we’ll know who won.

Unofficial results will be posted online shortly, but official tallies depend on turnout and how quickly individual counties share their voter data with state authorities.

We’ll be monitoring all the latest developments.

Eric Garcia has more information.

When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results?

What time will we know the results?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 23:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Polls in Georgia open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm on Tuesday. Voters who are still in line by 7:00 pm will still be allowed to vote.

Results of the race will likely be known earlier than in the 2021 runoff, due largely to the fact that many voters have already cast their ballot.

When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results?

DoJ to monitor polls in Georgia for compliance with federal voting rights laws

Tuesday 6 December 2022 23:20 , Oliver O'Connell

The Justice Department plans to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in four counties in Georgia today, the department said in a statement.

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters. The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot.

For this election, the Civil Rights Division will monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws on Election Day in four jurisdictions: Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Macon-Bibb County. Monitors will include personnel from the Civil Rights Division and from the US Attorneys’ Offices.

The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts.

What influence does Trump have on today’s race?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, meaning its elected officials must answer for every egregious statement or call to subvert the law he makes. The difference is that now, after two impeachments and suffering a crushing loss in 2020, he no longer offers them many benefits. Rather, every utterance he makes reminds voters why they don’t vote for Republicans.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Georgia’s Senate runoff, writes Eric Garcia.

Trump saddles GOP with all of his baggage and none of his benefits

Watch: Today is a ‘mini-referendum’ on Trump

Tuesday 6 December 2022 22:40 , Oliver O'Connell

“This is a mini referendum on the value, or lack thereof, of a Trump endorsement,” says CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett

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A stark choice for Black voters

Tuesday 6 December 2022 22:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Black voters say the choice is stark: Warnock, the senior minister of Martin Luther King’s Atlanta church, echoes traditional liberal notions of the Black experience; and Walker, a University of Georgia football icon, speaks the language of white cultural conservatism and mocks Warnock’s interpretations of King, among other matters.

Read on:

Warnock, Walker: Starkly different choices for Black voters

What to watch for in today’s election

Tuesday 6 December 2022 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The results of the AP VoteCast survey illustrate some of the challenges each candidate faces on Tuesday.

Herschel Walker will need to turn out a GOP base that wasn’t enamored with him to start with, and do it without the more popular Governor Brian Kemp on the ballot.

Raphael Warnock must get his coalition of some lower-propensity voting groups to turn out.

And both candidates have to motivate voters despite a predetermined balance of power in Washington.

What to watch in Tuesday's Georgia Senate runoff election

An increasingly personal fight and a flood of outside spending all comes to a head today

Tuesday 6 December 2022 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Georgia voters on Tuesday are set to decide the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker after a four-week runoff blitz that has drawn a flood of outside spending to an increasingly personal fight.

Read on:

Warnock or Walker? Georgia runoff to settle last Senate seat

More than 800,000 have voted in person so far today

Tuesday 6 December 2022 21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

More than 800,000 people have voted so far in person on Election Day in Georgia according to Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer at the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

That number is believed to be a conservative estimate and the total will likely top 1 million people. Approximately 1.9 million people voted before election day.

He said that voting had run smoothly all day and on Twitter said that wait times were down to around two minutes.

Two locations will keep polls open beyond 7 pm due to a human error in one polling place in Walker County which will stay open until 7.30pm, and an undetermined issue at a location in Gwinnett County sees voting there extended by eight minutes.

When will we get the results of the Georgia Senate runoff election?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 21:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Results of the race will likely be known earlier than in the 2021 runoff, due largely to the fact that many voters have already cast their ballot. The last day of early voting took place on Friday, as 1.87m voters, about 26.7 per cent of registered voters, cast their ballot in the early voting period.

Eric Garcia reports.

When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results?

Herschel Walker moans about Obama mocking his vampire vs werewolf debate

Tuesday 6 December 2022 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate candidate Herschel Walker was apparently offended by former President Barack Obama’s mocking remarks referencing the Republican’s rambling speech about vampires and werewolves.

Mr Walker complained to Fox News on Sunday that Mr Obama did not tell “the whole story” when he needled the bizarre soundbite.

Graig Graziosi reports.

Herschel Walker moans about Obama mocking his vampire vs werewolf debate

Low election day turnout could spell bad news for GOP

Tuesday 6 December 2022 20:09 , Oliver O'Connell

As Raphael Warnock acknowledged in comments to supporters earlier, while Democrat voters have a tendency to take advantage of early voting opportunities, more Republican voters tend to vote on election day itself.

Political scientist and law professor Anthony Michael Kreis of Georgia State Law, notes that by late morning the number of election day voters was only 14 per cent of the total of early voters. This could signal bad news for the Republican Party.

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Record daily early voter turnout across state

Tuesday 6 December 2022 19:43 , Oliver O'Connell

Early turnout in Georgia's Senate runoff broke daily voting records three times since polls in all 159 counties across the state opened last Monday.

“Georgia is a national leader in voter access and security,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement last week. We are having historic levels of turnout and those who want to vote are voting- we believe this level of voter participation is excellent, and we'll keep working with counties to encourage them to open more Early Voting locations in the future.”

Warnock: ‘My opponent could still win'

Tuesday 6 December 2022 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Raphael Warnock warned supporters that there is a still a path for Herschel Walker to win in today’s runoff election.

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“Let me tell you my definition of ‘tired’ this morning: having to be represented by Herschel Walker for 6 years. That, my friends, will be exhausting.”

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Pelosi makes get out the vote plea for ‘champion’ Warnock

Tuesday 6 December 2022 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

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Voices: Republicans stuck with all of Trump’s baggage and none of his benefits

Tuesday 6 December 2022 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Washington Bureau Chief Eric Garcia writes:

Now, even as he is no longer in the White House, Mr Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, meaning its elected officials must answer for every egregious statement or call to subvert the law he makes. The difference is that now, after two impeachments and suffering a crushing loss in 2020, he no longer offers them many benefits. Rather, every utterance he makes reminds voters why they don’t vote for Republicans.

Trump saddles GOP with all of his baggage and none of his benefits

What is at stake in Georgia?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Democrats clinched their Senate majority earlier this month when they won seats in Nevada and Arizona. Still, there is one last contest in the battle for the Senate: The runoff race in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

The race will determine whether the Senate will remain evenly split with Democrats and Republicans each holding 50 Senate seats, where Vice President Kamala Harris breaks ties, or whether Democrats will have a one-seat majority in the Senate.

Here’s our breakdown of the final and most important Senate race in the country.

When is the Georgia Senate runoff and what are the stakes?

DoJ to monitor polls in Georgia for compliance with federal voting rights laws

Tuesday 6 December 2022 17:52 , Oliver O'Connell

The Justice Department plans to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in four counties in Georgia today, the department said in a statement.

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters. The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot.

For this election, the Civil Rights Division will monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws on Election Day in four jurisdictions: Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Macon-Bibb County. Monitors will include personnel from the Civil Rights Division and from the US Attorneys’ Offices.

The Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section enforces the civil provisions of federal statutes that protect the right to vote, including the Voting Rights Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights Acts.

When will we know the result of the Georgia runoff election?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Results of the race will likely be known earlier than in the 2021 runoff, due largely to the fact that many voters have already cast their ballot. The last day of early voting took place on Friday, as 1.87m voters, about 26.7 per cent of registered voters, cast their ballot in the early voting period.

Eric Garcia has the details.

When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results?

The two men competing for Georgia’s Senate seat

Tuesday 6 December 2022 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Eric Garcia profiles Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, the two men competing for Georgia’s Senate seat.

Who are Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock — the two Georgia’s Senate candidates?

Warnock: ‘I’ve got a feeling that the people of Georgia are going to get this right'

Tuesday 6 December 2022 16:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Raphael Warnock addressed canvassers in Norcross, Georgia, in his final event before polls close.

“We’re leaving it all on the field, but I’ve got a feeling that the people of Georgia are going to get this right and we’re gonna get this done,” he said.

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How did the candidates close out their campaigns?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican candidate Herschel Walker held his final campaign event at a gun range on Monday, while Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock appeared at a brewery in Atlanta, Politico reports.

“My opponent was an amazing football player,” Mr Warnock told the crowd of about 200 people at the Wild Heaven West End Brewery. “He was a great running back. Let’s send him running back to Texas.”

He also urged his supporters to get out the vote on Tuesday if they haven’t already: “We saw record voter turnout during the early vote period,” he said.

“But don’t underestimate the opposition.”

Mr Warnock spent Monday focusing on Atlanta and meeting with core groups of Democratic Party constituents including union members and college students.

Mr Walker did a five-stop bus tour outside of the state’s capital and biggest city. Speaking to supporters at the Governors Gun Club, he said that turnout was key.

“This is about turnout. And that means that we’ve got to get in the game, and we can’t sit on the sideline anymore. Because if we sit on the sideline, y’all seen what we’re going to get.”

The former football star was joined in the evening by former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Biden says eyes of nation on Georgia

Tuesday 6 December 2022 16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

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Walker hasn’t answered reporters’ questions in months

Tuesday 6 December 2022 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican candidate Herschel Walker has not taken questions from reporters on the trail in nearly two months as the Georgia Senate race sets to conclude in a runoff next week.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mr Walker’s last conversation with reporters was in early October. It remains unclear if he will gaggle with journalists again on the trail before the race concludes on 6 December. The Independent has reached out to a Walker campaign spokesperson for comment.

John Bowden reports.

Herschel Walker hasn’t answered reporters’ questions in nearly two months

Warnock holds slight lead in polling average

Tuesday 6 December 2022 15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

FiveThirtyEight.com’s polling average in the Georgia runoff has Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock ahead of Republican candidate Herschel Walker 50.2 per cent to 48.2 per cent.

However, the polling site notes that Mr Warnock’s lead is not ironclad, because although he has the lead in most of the runoff polls, all of them are within the margin of error.

While there is good news for the incumbent senator, the election remains close and he by no means has it in the bag yet.

Georgia runoff system originates in scheme to blunt power of Black vote

Tuesday 6 December 2022 15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

As two Black candidates face off in today’s Georgia Senate runoff election, it is worth noting that the very system in which they are now competing was originally intended to dilute the power of the Black vote in the state.

Per The Washington Post:

While 10 states use runoffs in primary elections, Georgia and Louisiana are the only two that do so in general elections. Georgia’s system was created in 1964 after the urging of Denmark Groover, who blamed Black voters for a reelection loss and proposed runoffs. Groover later acknowledged the runoff system was intended to suppress Black political representation.

While runoff elections had existed for decades in Southern primaries, Georgia’s enthusiastic adoption of two-round voting came as a way of “ensuring a conservative White candidate won an election,” said Ashton Ellett, a political historian and archivist at the University of Georgia.

“A runoff makes it harder for folks who have less resources to vote. This was before advanced in-person voting or [voting was offered] by mail and when we had many other unfair, iniquitous, undemocratic policies. It wasn’t for a partisan advantage so much as an ideological and cultural one,” Ellett said.

It is ironic that 58 years after the system was put in place, for the first time ever two Black men are competing for a US Senate seat under its rules.

Trump pitches Walker on Truth Social (between posts railing about investigations against him)

Tuesday 6 December 2022 14:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has made a last pitch for Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker as voters head to the polls today. On Monday evening he posted: “To the Great State of Georgia, Get Out and Vote for the WONDERFUL Herschel Walker TOMORROW. Herschel was a fantastic Athlete, and he will be an even greater United States Senator! To all MAGA Voters, that is, people that want to Make America Great Again and Put America First, tomorrow is a big day. Vote for Herschel!”

He followed that post with a reminder this morning: “IMPORTANT: Tomorrow has become TODAY. To the Great State of Georgia, VOTE TODAY FOR HERSCHEL, he will never let you down!”

The twice-impeached, one-term former president lost Georgia in the 2020 election which also saw Walker’s Democratic rival Raphael Warnock elected to the Senate. Mr Warnock is now running for a full six-year term.

Mr Trump’s posts pitching for Mr Walker were sandwiched between posts ranting about the various investigations against him, namely the discovery of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and the ongoing probe into his business in New York.

Georgia Republican slams Walker as ‘one of the worst candidates’ in party’s history

Tuesday 6 December 2022 14:00 , Namita Singh

Georgia’s outgoing lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan has lashed out at Herschel Walker, calling the scandal-plagued Republican candidate one of the worst in the party’s history.

“I’m a conservative. I’m a conservative because I feel like it’s the best way to govern. I’ve been a Republican a lot longer than a lot of folks,” Mr Duncan said to CBS News.

“I think I’ve got kids probably that could articulate the conservative platform better than some of the candidates that Donald Trump and his group supported all across the country.

“This wasn’t the right brand for Republicanism and I think Herschel Walker will probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history.”

My colleague Sravasti Dasgupta reports:

Georgia Republican calls Herschel Walker ‘one of the worst candidates’ in GOP history

Warnock leads in the projections, as Republicans slam Democrats for campaign spendin

Tuesday 6 December 2022 13:00 , Namita Singh

In a CNN poll of 1,886 registered voters released on Friday, Raphael Warnock lead Herschel Walker by four percentage points, 52 per cent to 48 per cent. A poll released on Thursday by Emerson College and the Hill also showed Mr Warnock ahead, by two percentage points.

Mr Warnock has held a clear financial advantage, with money pouring in from super PACs and out-of-state supporters.

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock  answers questions from reporters after speaking at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock answers questions from reporters after speaking at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

During the runoff election, outside groups have spent more than $43m on advertisements and other expenses in support of Mr Warnock or in opposition to Mr Walker, according to campaign finance data compiled by OpenSecrets, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. That compares to the $28m spent in support of Walker or opposition to Warnock.

The spending differential is evident to Republican strategist Brian Robinson, who said every time he uses Google or YouTube he sees ads supporting Mr Warnock, while his wife, a staunch Republican, has received mail about abortion rights.

“They have enough to go beyond just turning out their base,” he said of Democrats. “They have enough money to try and persuade people.”

How have Walker and Warnock pitched themselves to the voters in the run up to midterm election?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 12:00 , Namita Singh

Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, two Black men pitted against each other in the Georgia midterms, share their experience quite differently, reports the Associated Press.

Mr Warnock doesn’t often use phrases like “the Black church” or “the Black experience,” but infuses those institutions and ideas into his arguments.

The senator sometimes notes that others “like to introduce me and say I’m the first Black senator from Georgia.” He says Georgia voters “did an amazing thing” in 2021 but adds that it’s more about the policy results from a Democratic Senate.

Born in 1969, he calls himself a “son of the civil rights movement.” He talks of Martin Luther King’s desire for “a beloved community,” an inclusive society Mr Warnock says is anchored in the belief that “we all carry a spark of the divine”.

Students cheer and hold up signs for Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Students cheer and hold up signs for Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

He touts his Senate work to combat maternal mortality, noting the issue is acute among Black women. He campaigns with Black fraternity and sorority alumni. And he tells of his octogenarian mother using her “hands that once picked somebody else’s cotton” to “cast a ballot for her youngest son to be a United States senator.”

Only in America is my story possible

Raphael Warnock

Mr Walker, alternately, is often more direct in identifying himself by race, usually with humor.

“You may have noticed I’m Black,” he tells audiences that are often nearly all-white. But that jovial aside is the precursor to his indictment of a society — and a political rival — he says are consumed by discussions of race and racism.

“My opponent say America ought to apologize for its whiteness,” Mr Walker says in most campaign speeches, a claim based on some of Mr Warnock’s sermons referencing institutional racism.

He invokes King — “a great man” — with a line from his 1963 “I Have a Dream Speech” and accuses Mr Warnock and “trying to divide us” by race.

Supporters wait for the arrival of Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker at a campaign stop on 5 December 2022 in Dawsonville, Georgia (Getty Images)
Supporters wait for the arrival of Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker at a campaign stop on 5 December 2022 in Dawsonville, Georgia (Getty Images)

“He’s in a church where a man talked about the content of your character, not the color of your skin,” Mr Walker told supporters in Canton on 10 November, his first rally of the runoff campaign. In Forsyth County last week, he blasted schools he insisted teach “Critical Race Theory.”

“Don’t let anyone tell you you’re racist,” he said in August at a “Women for Herschel” event, which included Alveda King, the conservative evangelical niece of the slain civil rights leader.

He blasts Mr Warnock as anti-law enforcement, but without any context about police killings of Black citizens. “What I want to do is get behind our men and women in blue,” Mr Walker said in Forsyth.

Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker poses for selfies with supporters during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker poses for selfies with supporters during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)

Mr Walker touts his “minority-owned food services company”. Talking to reporters at one fall campaign stop, he recalled being a freshman at the University of Georgia just a decade after the football program integrated with its first Black scholarship players.

But when telling voters of his athletics and professional successes, he doesn’t allude to race, instead talking in terms of faith.“The Lord blessed me,” he says of each milestone.

It’s a contrast to Warnock’s framing of growing up in public housing in Savannah, choosing Morehouse because of King, and receiving a Pell Grant for tuition assistance. “I’m talking about good public policy,” the senator says.

Why were Biden and Trump at a distance from Georgia midterm campaign?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 11:00 , Namita Singh

After the general election, president Joe Biden, who has struggled with low approval ratings, promised to help Raphael Warnock in any way he could, even if it meant staying away from Georgia.

Bypassing the president, Mr Warnock decided instead to campaign with former president Barack Obama in the days before the runoff election.

Former US president Barack Obama clasps hands with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock after campaigning for Warnock at a rally 1 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Former US president Barack Obama clasps hands with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock after campaigning for Warnock at a rally 1 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Former president Barack Obama campaigns with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock at a rally 1 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Former president Barack Obama campaigns with Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock at a rally 1 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

For his part, Herschel Walker was endorsed by Donald Trump but avoided campaigning with him until the final day: The pair conducted a conference call on Monday with supporters, according to a Republican National Committee spokesperson.

Mr Walker’s candidacy is the GOP’s last chance to flip a Senate seat this year. Dr Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania, Blake Masters of Arizona, Adam Laxalt of Nevada and Don Bolduc of New Hampshire, all Trump loyalists, already lost competitive Senate races that Republicans once considered part of their path to a majority.

Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker greets supporters during a campaign rally on 4 December 2022 in Loganville, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker greets supporters during a campaign rally on 4 December 2022 in Loganville, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker poses for photos with local residents during a campaign stop on 5 December 2022, in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker poses for photos with local residents during a campaign stop on 5 December 2022, in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Getty Images)

Mr Walker has differentiated himself from Mr Trump in a notable way. The one-time president has spent two years falsely claiming that his loss in Georgia and nationally was fraudulent, despite the fact that numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even his own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges.

At his lone debate against Mr Warnock in October, Mr Walker was asked whether he’d accept the results even if he lost. He replied with one word: “Yes”.

What did the two candidates say in their final pitch ahead of the midterms?

Tuesday 6 December 2022 10:00 , Namita Singh

Raphael Warnock, whose victory in 2021 was in a special election to serve out the remainder of GOP senator Johnny Isakson’s term, sounded a confident note Monday during a packed day of campaigning. He predicted that he had convinced enough voters, including independents and moderate Republicans who supported Brian Kemp, that he deserves a full term.

“They’ve seen that I will work with anybody that helps me to do good work for the people of Georgia,” said the 53-year-old senator. “I think they’re going to get this right. They know this race is about competence and character.”

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock greets members of the Teamsters after speaking at a Get Out the Vote event at a UPS worksite 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock greets members of the Teamsters after speaking at a Get Out the Vote event at a UPS worksite 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

Herschel Walker campaigned Monday with his wife, Julie, greeting supporters and offering thanks rather than his usual campaign speech and full-throated attacks on the Democratic counterpart.

“I love y’all, and we’re gonna win this election,” he said at a winery in Ellijay, comparing it to championships he won as an athlete. “I love winning championships.”

The incumbent senator has paired his push for bipartisanship with an emphasis on his personal values, buoyed by his status as senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker signs autograph for a supporter during a campaign to stop on 5 December 2022 in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker signs autograph for a supporter during a campaign to stop on 5 December 2022 in Flowery Branch, Georgia (Getty Images)

And, beginning with the closing stretch before the 8 November general election, Mr Warnock added withering takedowns of Mr Walker, using the football star’s rocky past to argue that the political newcomer was “not ready” and “not fit” for high office.

Mr Walker, who used his athletics fame to coast to the GOP nomination, has sought to portray Mr Warnock as a yes-man for president Joe Biden.

The Republican has also sometimes made the attack in especially personal terms, complete with accusing Mr Warnock of having his “back bent” and “being on his knees, begging” at the White House — a searing charge for a Black challenger to level against a Black senator about his relationship with a White president.

Warnock or Walker? Georgia runoff to settle last Senate seat

Tuesday 6 December 2022 09:00 , Namita Singh

Georgia voters are set to decide the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic senator Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker after a four-week runoff blitz that has drawn a flood of outside spending to an increasingly personal fight.

This year’s runoff has lower stakes than the two in 2021, when victories by Mr Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff gave Democrats control of the Senate.

The outcome of today’s contest will determine whether Democrats have an outright 51-49 Senate majority or control a 50-50 chamber based on vice president Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

The runoff brings to a close a bitter fight between Mr Warnock, the state’s first Black senator and the senior minister of the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr preached, and Mr Walker, a former University of Georgia football star and political novice who has waged his bid in the mold of former president Donald Trump.

 (AP)
(AP)

A victory for Mr Warnock would solidify Georgia’s status as a battleground heading into the 2024 presidential election. A win for Mr Walker, however, could be an indication that the Democratic gains in the state might be somewhat limited, especially given that Georgia Republicans swept every other statewide contest last month.

In that election, Mr Warnock led Mr Walker by about 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast but fell shy of a majority, triggering the second round of voting.

About 1.9 million votes already have been cast by mail and during early voting, an advantage for Democrats whose voters more commonly cast ballots this way. Republicans typically fare better on voting done on Election Day, with the margins determining the winner.

Last month, Mr Walker, 60, ran more than 200,000 votes behind the Republican governor Brian Kemp after a campaign dogged by intense scrutiny of his past, meandering campaign speeches and a bevy of damaging allegations, including claims that he paid for two former girlfriends’ abortions — accusations that Mr Walker has denied.

Who are Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock? The two men competing for Georgia’s Senate seat

Tuesday 6 December 2022 08:00 , Namita Singh

Georgia will hold the final Senate contest of the 2022 midterm election today when Senator Raphael Warnock and hopeful Herschel Walker face each other in the runoff.

Neither candidate received a majority of the vote in November and Georgia law stipulates that as a result, the two would face each other in a runoff a month later.

While Democrats are guaranteed to hold the majority, they only hold 50 seats so far while Republicans hold 49.

A 51-seat majority means they would be less reliant on vice president Kamala Harris to break ties.

Who are the two candidates representing the Democrats and the Republicans? My colleague Eric Garcia reports:

Who are Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock — the two Georgia’s Senate candidates?

Herschel Walker upset by Obama mocking his vampire vs werewolf debate

Tuesday 6 December 2022 07:00 , Namita Singh

Senate candidate Herschel Walker was apparently offended by former president Barack Obama’s mocking remarks referencing the Republican’s rambling speech about vampires and werewolves.

Mr Walker complained on Fox News that Mr Obama did not tell “the whole story” when he needled the bizarre soundbite.

Over the weekend, the former president had joked while at a campaign event for Senator Raphael Warnock: “Since the last time I was here, Mr Walker has been talking about issues that are of great importance to the people of Georgia. Like whether it’s better to be a vampire or a werewolf. This is a debate that I must confess I once had myself when I was seven. Then I grew up.”

My colleague Graig Graziosi has more:

Herschel Walker moans about Obama mocking his vampire vs werewolf debate

Warnock, Walker offer starkly different choices for Black voters as the incumbent races ahead in midterm

Tuesday 6 December 2022 06:00 , Namita Singh

Raphael Warnock is the first Black US senator from Georgia, having broken the colour barrier for one of the original 13 states with a special election victory in January 2021, almost 245 years after the nation’s founding.

Now he hopes to add another distinction by winning a full six-year term in a Tuesday runoff. Standing in the way is another Black man, Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Both men have common upbringings in the Deep South in the wake of the civil rights movement and would make history as the first Black person elected from Georgia to a full Senate term.

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate US senator Raphael Warnock gives a thumbs up to supporters before speaking at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate US senator Raphael Warnock gives a thumbs up to supporters before speaking at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

Yet Mr Warnock and Mr Walker have cut different paths and offer clearly opposing visions for the country, including on race and racism.

Republicans are expecting a pleasant surprise, despite Mr Warnock heading into Election Day as the favourite to win in the closely divided state.

“Republicans seem to have thought they could put up Herschel Walker and confuse Black folks,” said Bryce Berry, president of Georgia’s Young Democrats chapter and a senior at Morehouse College, a historically Black campus where both King and Warnock graduated.

Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)

Standing beneath a campus statue of King, Mr Berry continued: “We are not confused.”

Other Black voters raised questions about Mr Walker’s past – his false claims about his business and professional accomplishments, instances of violence against his ex-wife – and the way he stumbles over some public policy discussions as a candidate.

Some said they believe GOP leaders are taking advantage of his fame as a beloved Heisman Trophy winner and national champion running back for the Georgia Bulldogs.

“How can you let yourself be used that way as a Black person?” asked Angela Heard, a state employee from Jonesboro. “I think you should be better in touch with your people instead of being a crony for someone.”

When will we know the Georgia Senate runoff results

Tuesday 6 December 2022 04:59 , Namita Singh

The final contest of the 2022 midterm elections takes place today as Democratic incumbent senator Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker face off in a runoff election in Georgia.

The two initially faced off in November in the general election, but neither received a majority of the vote. Libertarian Senate candidate Chase Oliver received a slice of the vote to come third.

Georgia stipulates that a candidate must receive a majority of the vote, so Mr Warnock and Mr Walker went to a runoff.

Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks as former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Republican senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks as former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley listens during a campaign rally on 5 December 2022 in Kennesaw, Georgia (Getty Images)

Mr Warnock is seeking a full six-year term in the Senate after he won a special election to finish the term of the late senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned in 2019 because of health complications.

Polls in Georgia open at 7am and close at 7pm on Tuesday. Voters who are still in line by 7pm will still be allowed to vote.

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate US senator Raphael Warnock speaks at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate US senator Raphael Warnock speaks at a Students for Warnock rally at Georgia Tech, 5 December 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia (Getty Images)

Results of the race will likely be known earlier than in the 2021 runoff, due largely to the fact that many voters have already cast their ballot, with early trends expected after the closing of votes in the evening.

Tuesday 6 December 2022 04:00 , Namita Singh

Welcome to The Independent’s US politics blog for Tuesday, 06 December 2022, where we provide the latest on the Georgia midterms.