In the final midterm denouement of Trump’s influence, Raphael Warnock will win the Georgia Senate runoff, CNN projects.



CNN

Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock will win Georgia’s Senate FlowCNN plans to hand Democrats a key victory that will give them more influence in the Senate next year.

His defeat of Republican challenger Herschel Walker would put Democrats in control 51 seats to 49 for the GOP.

The race caps a tough midterm cycle for Republicans — they won the House majority, but their hopes for Capitol Hill supremacy were dashed by the troubled candidacies of some Donald Trump-backed Senate candidates, including Walker.

There was flow A final midterm test of the former president’s influence He is embarking on a third White House bid. After President Joe Biden narrowly carried the state in 2020, combined with two Senate runoff victories that gave him the Democratic Senate in 2021 — it’s a sign that Georgia is now a purple state.

Democratic control of the Senate next year has already been settled by tight races in states like Nevada, where the Democratic Senate. Catherine Cortez Masto clung to her seat despite economic interventions, and Democrat John Fetterman held off a GOP in Pennsylvania. .

The Senate was evenly split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. It has given moderates like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kirsten Sinema too much power. Warnock getting a full six-year term would allow Democrats to abandon their current power-sharing deal with Republicans, while making it easier for Biden to advance candidates.

Although Warnock received more votes than Walker in last month’s general election, he fell short of the majority needed to win. The ensuing run-off attracted more than $80 million in ad spending, with Democrats spending twice as much as Republicans, according to data from ad tracking firm AdImpact.

Warnock conducted A Short lead on Walker in a CNN poll released last week. Walker had a negative favorable rating as voters questioned his integrity after a series of scandals. He denied reports that he pressured or encouraged women to have abortions, despite previously advocating a ban on the practice without exceptions on the campaign trail. While running for the seat in Georgia — he’s only getting a tax break for his primary residence this year in his Dallas, Texas-area home, CNN’s KFile reported.

The state broke one-day early voting records last week, but the early voting period was significantly shortened from 2021. The total number of voters has declined from approximately 3.1 million last year to approximately 1.87 million in 2022. Democrats were somewhat optimistic. of Black voters – who strongly supported Warnock in CNN’s poll. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, they received nearly 32% of the vote in early voting.

Walker, however, counted on strong turnout among GOP voters who want to vote in large numbers on Election Day.

“It’s about turnout,” Walker said Monday, urging voters to “flood the polls.”

“Now, we have to get into the game. We can’t sit on the sidelines any longer,” he said.

But Trump — who, like Biden, steered clear of the Peach State during the runoff — has complicated GOP fortunes across the country this year as voters rejected many of his candidates in swing states.

Some of its earliest signs in Georgia two years ago were his efforts to cast doubt on mail-in ballots and vote counts that have been blamed, in part, for the GOP’s 2021 losses in dual runoffs that gave Democrats control of the Senate.

This year, the former president’s attempts to retaliate against GOP Gov. Brian Kemp — who rejected Trump’s demands to overturn the 2020 election — were decisively rejected by primary voters. Kemp defeated Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams last month, earning about 200,000 more votes than Walker.

While Kemp and Walker spoke a few times during the public campaign, the two mostly kept their distance from each other on the trail. That all changed on the run. Kemp attended a rally with Walker and appeared in an ad for him. He’s held private fundraisers and lent money to a Mitch McConnell-aligned super PAC, spent months developing a polling tool, all of which could prove crucial for Walker.

But Georgia Lt. Gov. Jeff Duncan, who rejected Trump’s outlandish demands after the 2020 election, told CNN on Monday that Trump’s support was the only reason Walker became the GOP nominee, but now the former president is “probably Herschel Walker’s biggest headache.”

Duncan suggested Tuesday’s election could be a kind of final reckoning for Trump — one that could lead Republicans to take a firmer stance against his meddling in future elections, even if the former president wants to reinstate himself as the party’s standard-bearer. He recently announced his bid to retake the White House.

“We as Republicans are trying to break this vicious cycle of addiction to Donald Trump,” Duncan said on CNN’s “AC360.”

“This should have been one of the biggest, easiest layouts we’ve done over the years, decades. But unfortunately we’ve chosen the wrong candidates across the country.

After losses in key states like Arizona and Pennsylvania, Republicans are planning a more aggressive push to shore up candidates in primaries they see as more electable. Montana Sen., the incoming chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Steve Daines told CNN: “You want to see candidates who can win general elections, and we’ll continue to work on that.”

Still, Trump weighed in on Walker’s behalf at a tele-rally on Monday, telling supporters that if his candidate wins, “the Republicans can make life a little more difficult for (Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer, and we can put the brakes on every extreme.” A left-wing judge.”

“A vote for Raphael Warnock is a vote to give Chuck Schumer and far-left Democrats total control of the US Senate. We cannot allow this,” he added.

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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