Skip to main content
Best News Website or Mobile Service
WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Worldwide
Best News Website or Mobile Service
Digital Media Awards Worldwide
Hamburger Menu




Georgia run-off contest between preacher, ex-football star could have big implications for US Senate

The Democrats currently hold 50 seats in the 100-seat Senate, against the Republicans' 49.

Georgia run-off contest between preacher, ex-football star could have big implications for US Senate
Tuesday’s (Dec 6) run-off election will see Republican candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Democrat senator Raphael Warnock vying for the Georgia Senate seat. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

WASHINGTON: The final undecided contest of the United States midterm elections could have big implications for the Democrats as they look to solidify their Senate majority, and possibly shape the next two years for US President Joe Biden. 

The Democrats currently hold 50 seats in the 100-seat Senate, against the Republicans' 49.

Tuesday’s (Dec 6) high-stakes run-off election will decide whether incumbent Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock or Republican and Donald Trump-endorsed rival Herschel Walker takes the Georgia Senate seat. 

Their battle went to a second round after neither candidate got the required 50 per cent of votes at the Nov 8 midterms. 

Polls show that Mr Warnock, a pastor of Martin Luther King’s former church, has a narrow lead over Mr Walker, a former American football star. 


Regardless of the outcome, the Democrats will still control the upper house of Congress for the next two years. But in such a closely-divided Senate, every seat counts. 

“With a 50-50 tie, the Democrats cannot lose a single senator,” said Dr Mark Rom, associate professor of government and public policy at Georgetown University. 

“So, on any piece of legislation, they have to find something that satisfies all 50 senators, including two senators, the senator from Arizona and the senator from West Virginia who have often said, ‘Wait, we won’t vote for this bill unless you give us exactly what we want.'”

A win for Mr Warnock would strengthen the Democrats’ hand, making it tougher for those conservative Democrat senators to hold up legislation, as they often have since Mr Biden took office.

At the other corner, Mr Walker has not held public office, and Mr Warnock has attacked his Republican challenger for barely understanding his party’s policies.

Despite running on a pro-life platform, two ex-girlfriends of Mr Walker have claimed that he paid for them to have abortions, something he has denied. 

Those allegations, along with the Supreme Court decision that took away abortion access, could be enough to influence Republican female voters, some analysts believe. 

Former republican strategist Rina Shah said: “With the Supreme Court decision of the overturn of Roe vs Wade, putting bodily autonomy and the issue of abortion front and centre, you see those Georgia Republican women, perhaps wanting to cross over and vote for a Democrat or staying home this time.”

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars spent, the result now hinges on which party has done the most to motivate their supporters to get out and vote. 


A win for Mr Walker would give Mr Trump momentum as he begins his 2024 presidential run, something he desperately needs.

Mr Trump is likely to face a tougher battle in his latest White House bid, with some Republican leaders and voters already weary of his “toxic politics”, observers have said.

“Trump did not do very well on his hand-picked candidates in this election,” said Dr Rom. “And when you start to lose elections at the state level, other Republicans will take notice and they’ll say, ‘Is Donald Trump the past of our party, or is he the future of the party?’

“And increasingly, I think they’ll say, ‘He’s the past, we need to look forward and find new leaders.’”

After the relatively poor showing of Trump-endorsed candidates in the midterms, some observers think the damage has already been done.

“We’re seeing a real fracture in the Republican Party, which we did not see over the past six years. We’re seeing MAGA (Make America Great Again) and centre-right Republicans fight for who’s relevant in the party,” Ms Rina said. 

“And what we know now is that Trump was wrong for choosing these candidates, for backing these candidates, but who was more wrong was the RNC (Republican National Committee) to let Trump do it.”

Source: CNA/ca(fk)(sn)


Also worth reading