ATLANTA — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia.
The victory by the state’s first Black senator ensures Democrats an outright majority in the chamber for the rest of President Joe Biden’s term.
That means the party won’t have to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Republicans and Vice President Kamala Harris won’t be called on as much to break tie votes.
Warnock’s win solidifies Georgia’s place as a Deep South battleground: Voters here returned the Democrat to the Senate in the same cycle they reelected Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and chose an all-GOP slate of statewide constitutional officers.
Why AP called the Georgia Senate runoff for Warnock
There weren’t enough uncounted votes in Republican-leaning areas for Republican challenger Herschel Walker to make up his runoff election night gap with incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
That’s what led The Associated Press to call the race for Warnock late Tuesday.
Voting in the runoff began just weeks after the Nov. 8 general election. Georgia law requires a runoff four weeks after the general election if no candidate gets more than 50% of the initial vote in the general election.
Twin runoff elections in Georgia in early 2021 determined the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, with Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff taking both seats.
This time around Democrats secured control of the chamber last month.
Warnock, Walker: Starkly different choices for Black voters
ATLANTA — Raphael Warnock is the first Black U.S. senator from Georgia, having broken the color barrier with a special election victory in January 2021. Now Warnock can add another distinction by winning a full six-year term in a Tuesday runoff.
Standing in the way is another Black man, Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
The two men have cut different paths and offer clearly opposing visions for the country, including on race and racism, despite their common upbringings in the wake of the civil rights movement and the guarantee of a historical first from their Senate matchup.
Black voters in this Deep South state say the choice is stark.