Pastor Warnock finally took it to Georgia. Democrats no longer need the voice of Vice President Kamala Harris to ensure they dominate the upper house of Congress.
The victory of Raphael Warnock, re-elected senator from Georgia on Tuesday, gives the majority to the Democrats in the Senate. Joe Biden’s party wins a seat compared to the current distribution of the upper house, for two years equally divided between 50 Democratic senators and 50 Republicans. Only the voice of Vice President Kamala Harris ensured the dominance of the Democrats.
Pastor Warnock won a very close vote against his Republican opponent, former American football champion Herschel Walker. During the election on November 8, Warnock had already beaten Walker by 37,000 votes out of nearly 4 million votes cast, but he had not reached the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a second round.
“The people have spoken”
“After a hard-fought campaign, or rather campaigns, I have the honor of speaking the most powerful words in a democracy: the people have spoken,” Warnock said Tuesday night to cheering fans in Atlanta. Since 2020, Warnock has taken part in four polls. First black senator from Georgia, he is now elected for 6 years.
“A vote is a form of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children,” also launched Warnock, a Baptist pastor at Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King preached. “Georgians, you prayed with your lips and your legs, your hands and your feet, your heads and your hearts. You’ve worked hard, and here we are, together.”
Herschel Walker, American football star, had been supported by Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. But his campaign had been somewhat disrupted by a series of incriminating allegations, including that he paid for the abortions of two former girlfriends.
But Walker didn’t follow his mentor’s lead, and admitted defeat Tuesday night as soon as the screenings gave Warnock the win. “The numbers don’t seem to add up,” said the former footballer. “There are no excuses in life, and I’m not going to look for any now because we fought like hell.”
Georgia, a disputed state
This Democratic victory consolidates the relatively good performance of Joe Biden’s party in the midterm elections, which promised to be difficult. However, it retains Georgia’s status as a disputed state between Democrats and Republicans.
In 2020, Biden had been the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 30 years. A few months later, in January 2021, when Trump was contesting the results of the presidential election, the election of Warnock and the other Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff had given their party control of the Senate in extremis. But Georgia also re-elected Republican Governor Brian Kemp on November 8 with a comfortable margin, and a series of elected Republicans, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The choice of Herschel Walker in the Republican primaries, supported by Trump, had been criticized by many elected officials of the party. His immense notoriety, due to his football career, was quickly offset by questions about his fitness for office, and his controversial personality. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, had criticized this choice which made it difficult for the Republican victory. “The quality of candidates matters”commented the senator.
Walker’s loss is another setback for Trump, who has announced his third White House bid for 2024 and was counting on the candidates he backed to cement his control over the Republican Party. For Democrats and for Joe Biden, the new majority in the Senate provides welcome leeway. The party will no longer have to rely on the voice of Vice President Kamala Harris to get out of the tied votes. Democrats will no longer be dependent on the defection of a single senator to pass bills or certify nominations, as has been the case for the past two years. They will also hold the majority in the Senate committees, so far divided with the Republicans.
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