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Warnock parties at a brewery and Walker at a gun range in Georgia runoff’s final hours

POLITICO
POLITICO
 2022-12-05
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=108Yrj_0jYCSHxT00
Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, was spending the campaign’s final day in Atlanta, meeting with local union members, college students and Atlanta-based rap artist Killer Mike and ending with a final campaign rally at a local brewery. | Ben Gray/AP Photo

Updated: 12/05/2022 11:42 PM EST

KENNESAW, Ga. — From a stage set up inside a Cobb County gun range Monday night, Herschel Walker threw T-shirts into a crowd of supporters. The Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” blared as he smiled and waved.

It was the closing scene of the final GOP rally of the last race of the 2022 midterms, an election cycle that delivered disappointment rather than expected gains for Senate Republicans. Despite a disadvantage in polling, cash and early vote turnout, Republicans are holding out hope that Georgia will still represent a rare bright spot after a series of defeats this election cycle.

“Tomorrow is the day that we can send a shout around the United States of America that Georgia is not a blue state,” said Ginger Howard, the state’s national committeewoman for the Republican Party, as cheers came from the modest-but-energized crowd. “We are a red state, and we’re going to show that to everybody tomorrow.”



Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent fighting for a full six-year term after narrowly winning office in a January 2021 runoff, made his final pitch to a multiracial crowd of about 200 people entertained by DJ D-Nice at Atlanta’s Wild Heaven West End Brewery.

“My opponent was an amazing football player,” Warnock told the crowd. “He was a great running back. Let’s send him running back to Texas.” He urged his supporters to get out the vote on Tuesday if they haven’t already: “We saw record voter turnout during the early vote period,” he said. “But don’t underestimate the opposition.”

Stifled GOP turnout in the last runoff contributed to victories two years ago by Warnock and Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who was on the ballot in a separate Senate race. In that case, disproven conspiracy theories raised by allies of then-President Donald Trump about election integrity kept GOP voters home in some of the state’s reddest areas.

This time the state has seen record-setting early voting turnout believed to favor Warnock, causing concern among GOP operatives that their base may not show up in large enough numbers to overtake Democratic margins.

“I want to say that this is about turnout,” said Walker, appearing somewhat subdued compared with his typical rally demeanor. “This is about turnout. And that means that we’ve got to get in the game, and we can’t sit on the sideline anymore. Because if we sit on the sideline, y’all seen what we’re going to get.”

At stake is an outright Senate majority for Democrats, who held onto 50 seats but now have an opportunity to actually boost their margin — closing out an election cycle in which the GOP had expected to take back the chamber in a red wave of anti-Biden sentiment.

If Warnock comes out on top Tuesday night, Democrats will have defended every Senate seat — and picked up Pennsylvania — in a tough election year. Warnock and Democratic senators in Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire were among the party’s incumbents believed to be in the most danger due to President Joe Biden’s poor approval ratings in those states.



Warnock and his colleagues, too, faced tanking favorability ratings as they weathered attack ads this year. But voters ultimately rejected a slate of off-putting Republican nominees, many of whom closely aligned themselves with Trump and lost critical independent voters.

While Walker held five bus tour stops in areas outside of Atlanta on Monday, Warnock kept his focus on the state’s capital city, meeting with local union members, college students and Atlanta-based rap artist Killer Mike.

Walker, meanwhile, wrapped up his event at the Governors Gun Club north of Atlanta. National GOP operatives in town for the runoff dotted the back of the firing range Monday as they counted down the final hours of race.


https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=48R90u_0jYCSHxT00
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) waves to supporters at a last-day campaign rally at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Dec. 5, 2022. | AP Photo/John Bazemore

As he visited Republican strongholds in northern Georgia throughout the day, Walker stumped without high-profile surrogates, but was joined in the evening by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Missing from his schedule in recent days has been Walker’s most powerful surrogate, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who outperformed Walker by almost 5 points last month and retains a high favorability margin in the state, according to internal polling from a super PAC supporting Walker.

“Nothing can be more important for our democracy in the moment than you showing up,” Warnock told the crowd of college students. “They said you wouldn’t show up, but you’re showing up and it’s making a difference. A huge difference.”

Trump was scheduled to hold a tele-rally with Republican voters on Monday night. The live phone event was closed to reporters, a sign that Trump and top Republicans know the former president’s involvement could be as harmful for getting out soft Republicans as it is helpful for mobilizing the party’s right wing.

Trump, who publicly urged Walker to enter the race in 2021, last came to the state to rally in March. He kept a distance throughout the general election.

Warnock’s decision to spend the day in Atlanta, a strong Democratic hub, shows his continued focus on increasing Democratic turnout. Even after several record-breaking days of early voting, Warnock said Sunday night that there were still more voters to reach. About 50 percent of registered voters participated in the November election and turnout for the runoff is expected to be less than that, particularly since rain is forecast across the state for Tuesday.

The results are expected to be close — the difference in November’s election was fewer than 38,000 votes. More than 1.8 million people have already cast an early or absentee ballot in the runoff election.

Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.

Comments / 16

Viva Satire!
12-05

Republican Senate Candidate Herschel Walker pleaded with Georgians to elect him, so he doesn't have to listen to Former President Trump's Bullxxxx if he loses.

Reply(1)
3
Robert the Hunter
12-05

walker is going to lose because he has distanced himself from trump and trump supporters are not going to show up and vote for him. period....

Reply
3

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