Raphael Warnock won Georgia's second round, solidifying the Democratic Senate majority

The Democratic incumbent fended off a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker for the party's 51st seat

The Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock, won the Georgia Senate runoff on Tuesday, securing his first full term and giving up his 51st seat to increase his party's majority in the chamber.

The Associated Press called the race about three and a half hours after polls closed in Georgia, as Warnock led the Republican candidate, Herschel Walker, by about 40,000 votes.

Shortly after, Warnock took the stage at his campaign victory party to thank his supporters. A pastor at the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, Warnock has held one of two Georgia Senate seats since winning a special election in 2021. As he began his speech in Atlanta, supporters chanted: “Six more years!” told the Warnock crowd: "After a hard-fought campaign - or should I say campaign - it is my honor to speak the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: the people have spoken."

One of 12 children born to a pastor father and a cotton picking mother, Warnock contemplates the slim prospect of his path to the Senate. His mother was with him at his victory party, after he got the chance to vote again for his son.

"I'm Georgian," Warnock said. “I am an example and repeat of its history, its pain and promise, its brutality and possibility. But because this is America, because we have always had a path to make our country greater against unspeakable odds, here we stand together. Thank you, Georgia.” Joe Biden called Warnock to congratulate him, describing his win as a defeat for Republican extremism and Donald Trump's “Make America Great Again” philosophy. "Tonight Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected Ultra MAGAism, and most of all what matters: sending good people back to the Senate," the president said on Twitter.Walker conceded, admitting that his campaign was a failure and expressing gratitude to his team. Republicans explicitly thanked election officials who ensured the runoff was managed effectively, allaying fears he might refuse to accept the results.

"I don't want any of you to stop believing in America," Walker told supporters. "I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the constitution and believe in our elected officials... Always, always cast your vote no matter what."

Walker's loss came a month after the national midterm elections, when neither he nor Warnock found enough backing to win outright, requiring a runoff. The runoff is just the latest in a series of very close races in Georgia, reflecting the state's relatively new status as a draw after decades of being considered a safe Republican.

Nearly 2 million Georgians were voting before election day, and those early voters seem to like Warnock a lot. Republicans were counting on strong turnout on election day, but Walker's endorsement on Tuesday wasn't enough to get him over the line.

The race has been canceled several times by the controversy surrounding Walker, the former College of Georgia and NFL football player who won the Republican primary after accepting Trump's endorsement.

Many of the women Walker had previously had relationships with accused him of pressuring them into abortions, despite his staunch anti-abortion views. In the final weeks of the runoff, Walker also faced questions over reports that he received a tax break intended for the primary residence in his Texas home.

Walker's loss is likely to raise questions over Trump's standing in the Republican party. Overall, the candidates Trump supports have fared poorly this election season, prompting questions from some of the former president's critics about whether he has pushed his party to unpopular extremes.

Walker's failure would be especially worrying for Trump given the Republicans swept another top race statewide in Georgia. Two of the candidates, the incumbent governor, Brian Kemp, and the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, drew the ire of Trump for resisting his efforts to overturn Biden's 2020 win, the first time a Democrat has captured Georgia since 1992.

Before the results were announced, former Republican congressman Will Hurd said on Twitter: “If Walker loses tonight, it will be the sixth time in a row that Democrats have beaten Trump or the Trump-backed statewide candidate in Georgia. It's time to move on, build a future on conservative principles, and put the crazy bullshit away."

Some right-wing leaders suggest the runoff results raise questions about Trump's hopes of reclaiming the White House, after he announced his third straight presidential bid last month.

"Conservatives across the country are tired of losing," Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leaders group, said on Twitter. “#2024 is the key to winning the future again. #ChooseGood.”

The second round did not determine control of the Senate, as the Democrats had won enough seats to maintain their grip for two years.

But Warnock's win did give the Democrats a crucial 51st seat, allowing them to walk away from their current power-sharing agreement with Republicans. The 51-seat majority will also provide wiggle room when it comes to closing committee voting and nomination battles. The new dynamic could make Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer less reliant on centrists like West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema to pass legislation and confirm nominees.

The 51-seat majority could also help Democrats offer a counterbalance to an investigation House Republicans are expected to launch, who took a majority in the lower house after last month's midterms. Now that they have a clear majority in the Senate, Democrats will be able to issue subpoenas without Republican support.

"51!" Schumer said in an encouraging tweet. He later added: "Senator Warnock's win is a win for Georgia, and a win for democracy and against the extremist policies of the MAGA Republic." This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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