Raphael Warnock-Herschel Walker Senate runoff: What you need to know

Georgia is once again the center of the nation’s political universe
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 2:54 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2022 at 3:18 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia is once again the center of the nation’s political universe as Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are headed to a Senate runoff.

As of noon Wednesday, Warnock is leading Walker by 55,165 votes. Warnock has 1,937,564 votes and 49.42% of the vote to Walker’s 1,902,399 and 48.52%. Libertarian Chase Oliver has 2% of the vote.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed the runoff in a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

RELATED: What you need to know about the Dec. 6 Senate runoff

Under Georgia’s relatively new voting laws adopted in Senate Bill 202, Georgia runoffs take place much sooner than ever before. The law specifies early voting in a runoff should start “as soon as possible” after a primary or general election, and requires in-person early voting the Monday through Friday before the election.

“This will be a very heavy lift for our counties because it’s a four-week runoff period, but I have confidence they will take all the measures required to rise to the task,” Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger said his office started building ballots for the Senate runoff Wednesday morning. Requests for absentee ballots are already underway. The sole week of early voting must begin no later than Monday, November 28.

“We do anticipate some counties may likely have Saturday voting following Thanksgiving as well also on Nov 26,” Raffensperger said. “We are working with the counties to find out their plans on this front. I ask the voters to come out and vote one last time.”

Full interactive results of Georgia’s Nov. 8 elections

This is the second consecutive Senate race that has gone into a runoff in Georgia. In 2020, both Warnock and Jon Ossoff narrowly defeated their GOP incumbent rivals - Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively - thus sending two Democrats to Georgia’s Senate delegation for the first time in decades.

Who holds the balance of power? Full interactive results of the nation’s Nov. 8 elections

Those runoffs had the full attention of the nation’s political establishment, as control of the U.S. Senate hung in the balance in the aftermath of 2020′s historically close, highly contentious presidential election.

Numerous polls had both Warnock and Walker effectively tied throughout the late summer and early fall.