U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock projected winner, defeats Republican Herschel Walker

Democrats will now hold a 51-seat majority in the U.S. Senate
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:10 AM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock appears to have won re-election in Georgia’s nationally watched runoff on Tuesday, and will now be serving his first full, six-year Senate term.

Warnock defeated Republican Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 runoff, which was triggered when neither candidate won a clear majority in last month’s 2022 midterms.

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Warnock’s victory means Democrats will have a 51-seat Senate majority, rather than the 50-50 split that has existed since the 2020 election.

Walker and Warnock remained in a virtual tie throughout late summer and into the fall. Walker, a first-time political candidate, was first endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and later Gov. Brian Kemp, who appeared with Walker on the campaign trail at least once and also endorsed Walker in a TV ad.

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Former president Barack Obama appeared with Warnock on Dec. 1 at a campaign rally in Atlanta.

Warnock’s victory could also have huge implications in 2024. Democrats are defending 21 incumbents and two independents who caucus with them, while the GOP is defending only 10 seats in the presidential election year.

This is the second consecutive Senate race that has gone into a runoff in Georgia. Warnock won his current seat in a January 2021 runoff against Kelly Loeffler, who had been appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to fill the unexpired term of Johnny Isakson, who had resigned due to health reasons.

Warnock’s win, along with Jon Ossoff’s ouster of then-incumbent David Perdue, gave Georgia two Democratic U.S. senators for the first time in decades.

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.