Obama urges Georgia Democrats to push turnout for Warnock

ATLANTA (AP) – Former President Barack Obama and Sen. Raphael Warnock urged Democratic voters Thursday to continue pushing an apparent early voting lead in the Georgia Senate runoff. against Republican Herschel Walker, before Friday’s final day of early in-person voting and election day on Tuesday.

“If they didn’t get tired, you can’t get tired,” Obama told a crowd gathered in a cavernous former railroad repair shop east of downtown Atlanta.

Voters have already cast more than 1.4 million ballots amid a hands-on push by Democrats to bank as many votes as possible, while Republicans, particularly Walker, have taken a less aggressive approach. could leave the GOP nominee largely dependent on a runoff. Election day.

“We have to keep showing up,” Warnock told the crowd at his biggest event of the four-week relegation blitz. “We have to keep voting. We can’t let up even for a moment. We have to keep our foot on the gas all the way to victory.”

Both Obama and Warnock have criticized Walker, part of Democratic attacks that Walker is unqualified and untrue.

“I believe in my heart that Georgia knows Georgia is better than Herschel Walker,” Warnock said.

Obama told a story about how Walker once claimed he let Obama beat him at basketball, but later admitted he didn’t meet the Democrats.

“When you tell blatant lies over and over again, that says something about the kind of person you are and the kind of leader you would be if elected to the United States Senate,” Obama said.

Georgia voters have cast more than 1.4 million ballots.

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Warnock voted Sunday after a religious infusion rally that called for the civil rights traditions of the Black South church, including Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Warnock occupied the pulpit once held by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker, meanwhile, is expected to vote on Election Day in the runoff, as he did in the November midterms.

Warnock led Walker by around 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast in the general election but failed to reach the majority required under Georgia law.

Early voting data across the state, including some weekends and Thanksgiving weekdays in some counties, show overall higher turnout in Democratic counties and the largest congressional districts. Still, both parties are finding data to tout as they jostle for any advantage in the final contest of the 2022 midterm election cycle, with both campaigns generally agreeing that Warnock will lead among early voters, as he did in the first round, and Walker will have an advantage on Election Day ballots, as he did in November. The respective odds will determine the final winner.

TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, analyzed the identities of the 830,000-plus voters who cast ballots by the end of Tuesday and found that Democrats have increased their advantage by 14 percentage points over the six days leading up to the November. .8 election. That analysis did not include the additional 240,000 ballots cast on Wednesday.

Walker’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, pushed back on notions of Democratic dominance. He argued that their advantage comes only because Democratic metro area counties were voting early over the weekend, while more Republican areas waited until the statewide mandatory early voting window that began Monday. Republicans had filed an unsuccessful suit in state court to block early voting on Saturday for the runoff.

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Paradise said an analysis of Walker’s campaign found that nine of the 10 counties with the highest Monday turnout were won by Walker in November with a combined 70% of the vote. He added that the state’s most populous counties — those with more than 100,000 registered voters — were two Republican strongholds, Hall and Forsyth, which posted the highest turnout percentages Monday. Paradise said those trends show high enthusiasm among Republicans.

Still, Republicans are coming up with something to do.

According to state voting data compiled by Ryan Anderson, an independent analyst in Atlanta, four of the state’s five Democratic-held congressional districts through Tuesday had already seen at least 43% of the total vote. early for the November election, anytime. Georgia counties had at least 17 days of in-person voting. Only one of the nine Republican congressional districts in Georgia had reached that 43% mark.

Warnock first won the seat as part of a concurrent Senate runoff on January 5, 2021, when he and Jon Ossoff prevailed over Republican incumbents to hand Democrats narrow control of the Senate to begin President Joe Biden’s term .

“That happened because of you, Georgia, and now we have to do it again,” Obama said.

Warnock is now seeking a full six-year term. This time, control of the Senate is not in place: Democrats have already secured 50 seats and have the casting vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. That puts pressure on both the Warnock and Walker campaigns to convince Georgia voters that a second ballot is worth their time, even if the national stakes aren’t as high.

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Obama argued on behalf of Warnock himself, however, saying “51 is better than 50 because it means that Sen. Warnock will continue to represent you in Washington.”

Warnock received around 70% of his total first round votes from advance voting; for Walker, it was about 58%. That was an advantage of more than 256,000 votes for Warnock. Walker responded with an Election Day advantage of more than 200,000.

The Senator’s campaign, Democratic Party committees and aligned political action committees have geared their voter turnout efforts toward early voting. Republicans have faced their own broad pressure, including direct mail pressure from one political action supercommittee headed by Gov. There was Brian Kemp, who received 200,000 more votes than Walker to comfortably win a second term.

But Republicans are battling some internal party narratives, including from former President Donald Trump, who question some early voting, particularly mail-in ballots, pushing some Republicans toward the Election Day ballot. As early as Tuesday, Trump declared on social media that “I CAN’T HAVE A FAIR AND FREE ELECTION WITH POST-TOTAL BALLS – NO, EVER. IT HAS NOT BEEN AND IT CANNOT BE HAPPENED!!!”

Walker himself does not mention in-person voting or mail-in ballots at all when urging his supporters to vote.


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