Early voting is underway in Georgia in an intense week and a half of campaigning between GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker and incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Walker and Warnock were forced to campaign until a run-off on December 6 after either candidate won more than 50 per cent of the vote in the closely watched mid-term general election, and their campaign announcements and fundraising efforts have since increased.
If Warnock had won, the Democrats would have increased their razor-thin majority in the Senate, and if Walker had won, they would have kept their total to 50 seats, with a casting vote from Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris.
Although control of the Senate is not on the line, as many predicted, Georgia is seeing a lot of early voters in the runoff.
Data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s website showed early Sunday that about 90,000 voters had cast their ballots just a day after voting opened early in several Georgia counties — after the Georgia Supreme Court offered Republicans refused to prevent early voting on Saturday.
More Georgians voted on Sunday than on any Sunday in the 2018, 2020 and 2022 general elections, or in the 2021 Senate run-off, according to Warnock campaign director Quentin Fulks. The Hill has contacted the Georgia secretary of state to confirm those details.
Georgia had the highest number of voters during the midterms, with more than 143,000 votes cast on the first day of voting before the general election.
There is Warnock insist Georgian to “show up again” to reaffirm the narrow 1 point lead he saw in the general election.
Polls show both candidates re-entering the runoff, though Walker appears to be slightly ahead: The latest FiveThirtyEight polling averages put Walker up 1 percentage point over Warnock, 47.8 percent to 46.8 percent.
Another poll released by AARP last week put Walker ahead by 4 percentage points, although Warnock was leading among voters aged 18-49.
As of November 16, Warnock had almost three times more funds ready than his rival, according to a report from CNBC.
On the first day of his runoff campaign, Walker reportedly raised $3.3 million for his runoff campaign. The Democratic Seniors’ Campaign Committee pledged $7 million to Warnock’s runoff effort.
The campaign rhetoric has ramped up again as the runoff approaches.
Warnock has said the former NFL star is “deeply lying” and “not serious,” while Walker has called the incumbent a “hypocrite” and accused him of bending to the Democratic leadership, according to the Associated Press.
Warnock touched on his character in a new TV advert, after Walker defended himself against allegations of abuse from his ex-wife and claims from an ex-girlfriend that he paid for her abortion.
“It’s the character you make when no one is watching. It’s about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, and doing it over and over again,” the Democrat says in a recent ad, without naming Walker.
But the Democrat has more directly knock Walker for his apparent contradictions on abortion.
On the other hand, Walker’s supporters have released an ad accusing Warnock of mismanaging an Atlanta apartment building connected to his church.