Polls in Georgia closed at 7 p.m. EST as the state’s voters will decide the fate of the final Senate seat in the 2022 midterm races.
The race pits incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock against Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker and will determine whether the Democrats win an outright majority in the upper chamber, or continue to need Vice President Kamala Harris’ help as a deciding factor. to vote.
Early returns showed Warnock with a commanding 30-point lead, but that’s because a large chunk of the vote from the heavily Democratic Atlanta area was reported within 15 minutes of the polls closing.
If Warnock wins, the Democrats will also get a majority on the Senate committees. The current 50-50 composition means committees have equal members from each party, making it more difficult to pass legislation.
journalists on the ground, including from The New York Timesreported that few voters encountered long lines on election day, while in the Atlanta area, some early voters waited more than two hours.
Gabrielle Sterling, the chief operating officer in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, tweeted around noon that the average statewide voter wait time was three minutes, with the longest recorded being 32 minutes in Cherokee County.
Around 4 p.m., the state had an average wait time of one minute, Sterling later tweeted.
A voter casts his ballot in person during Tuesday’s Senate runoff election in Georgia. Republicans are counting on good turnout today as the early voting tends to boost Democratic candidates
Republican nominee Herschel Walker poses for a photo with a supporter at the Marietta Diner, where he made Election Day Tuesday
A supporter takes a selfie with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who hopes to win a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday
During campaign appearances Tuesday, Warnock and Walker argued over each other.
“At this point, I’ll be pitting my character against Raphael Warnock any day,” Walker said during an Election Day campaign stop at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia, after a reporter pointed out that “the issue of character is very important to voters.” .’
Walker, a Georgia football Heisman winner and ex-NFL player backed by former President Donald Trump, has faced a number of allegations during his run, including that the pro-life Republican pressured female friends to have abortions and insulted was in front of relatives.
Walker denied the abortion claims and said he was outspoken about past mental health issues.
Walker hopes to oust Warnock from his Senate seat, leaving the Democrats on a 50-50 split, rather than a true majority, should the Democrat win. However, each poll during the runoff period, Warnock has shown a lead.
Warnock rallied supporters at a kickoff event in Norcross, Georgia, noting that he had been on the ballot five times in just over two years.
“So I’m completely familiar with moe,” he said. “But let me tell you my definition of tired this morning: Six years should be represented by Herschel Walker.”
“That, my friends, will be exhausting,” the Democrat added.
“At this point, I’ll be pitting my character against Raphael Warnock any day,” Republican Herschel Walker (right) said during an Election Day campaign Tuesday at the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia
“But let me tell you my definition of moe this morning: Six years should be represented by Herschel Walker,” said Demoratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Norcross, Georgia Tuesday
Voters in Georgia wait in line to vote Tuesday in the second round of the Senate race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker
Warnock and his top surrogate, former President Barack Obama, have characterized Walker as clueless about public policy, who will not be able to do the job of a US senator.
Warnock hasn’t helped himself — he went viral when he revealed he’d rather be a werewolf than a vampire during a campaign freeze in mid-November — accidentally saying this “erection is about the people.”
“The people of Georgia deserve someone to walk with them. And Georgia is better than Herschel Walker,” Warnock said Tuesday morning.
“I’m not talking about his humanity. I’m talking about his fitness to serve,” Warnock continued.
“Georgia is better than that,” he added.
Warnock has already served in the Senate for two years after his 2020 special election ended in a runoff against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, whom Republican Governor Brian Kemp selected to replace outgoing GOP Senator Johnny Isakson. Warnock’s victory on 5 January 2021 marked the end of Isakson’s remaining two-year term.
After winning a primary and qualifying for the second round in 2022, he is on the ballot to win a full six-year term.
Warnock said the Democrats left nothing to chance.
“That’s why we stand here to be sprinkled and baptized again,” said Warnock, who serves as a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. preached.
A sample ballot is displayed at Zion Baptist Church during the Senate midterm elections in Marietta, Georgia
Voters wait in line outside a polling station in Columbus, Georgia on Tuesday to decide the final Senate race of the 2022 midterm elections
Residents stand outside an Atlanta polling place with umbrellas on Georgia Senate Election Day
Warnock cautioned that while early voting looked good — nearly 2 million Georgians went to the polls ahead of election days, with Democrats favoring early voting — Walker still had “a path.”
‘The job is not done. The truth is my opponent can still win this election,” Warnock said. “More of our voters vote early and more of his voters vote on Election Day.”
At the Marietta Diner, Walker expressed optimism that he would pull it off.
“I’m going out and winning this election. Herschel Walker is going to be your senator and things are going to change,” he told reporters.
The men are back on the ballot because neither of them got the required 50 percent plus one vote to win the November race outright.
On the first ballot, Warnock finished ahead with 1,943,737 votes to Walker’s 1,907,272 votes, or 0.9 percent.
As he left the restaurant on Tuesday, Walker refused to answer a question about whether he would concede.