What do the results of the Georgia runoff race really mean? 

December 7 – The results are in. The Democrat candidate Raphael Warnock has been elected to the US Senate seat in Georgia. 

He defeated Herschel Walker by about three percentage points in yesterday’s runoff election by about 100,000 votes, which is quite close in a race that includes more than four million votes. 

That was a larger margin than the race in November between the two candidates where neither of them reached 50 percent, hence the runoff election. 

Warnock will now do a six year term in the US Senate. It also means the Democrats will have 51 seats in the Senate. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “That in and of itself is significant because even though the Republicans do have control of the House now by a few seats, this 50/50 Senate, which technically was Democratic controlled because the vice president would break ties, ticking it up to 51 is pretty significant.” 

Democrats will have more seats at the table on all committees. They’ll be able to issue subpoenas. They will be able to fast-track judicial appointments and other appointments that do not require House ratification. 

Barkdoll said, “We’ll see how it shakes out.”

There has been some criticism leveled at the Walker campaign because for the last few weeks it seems like the campaign was losing steam. 

Barkdoll said, “He took five days off over Thanksgiving, said they needed a break, which is just unheard of in the world of politics when you’re running a race like this. So there’s going to be a lot of armchair quarterbacking about what this campaign may have been able to do differently.”

Brian Kemp, the Republican Governor of Georgia, won his reelection by almost eight points over Democrat Stacey Abrams in November. 

Barkdoll said, “Just like this dynamic we’ve seen in Pennsylvania and other states, a lot of ticket splitting. You have a lot of independents maybe working towards the Democrat on one race and maybe voting for a Republican on another race.” 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Georgia’s a very red state compared to Pennsylvania at least historically. Kemp got out there and he did fight, but you know who didn’t fight? Where were the Republican Senators? Why didn’t they go down there and support this? Yeah they got some money from Mitch McConnell, but there was not a full court press by any means on the Republican side, in my opinion. I’m so disappointed with McConnell. He’s the one that weirdly supported all the Trump candidates two years ago, but then turned around and badmouthed candidates and pulling money before it needed to be pulled and shifting money to races that it didn’t need to be shifted to, like Alaska. How that man is still voted to be the leader of the Senate is somewhat beyond me, except for the fact that I think Republicans I guess, they’re not on the same page when it comes to priorities and what’s important.” 

Barkdoll said, “This is a seat that the Republicans could have won. Down ballot Republicans had big days in Georgia on Election Day.”

Experts have pointed out there were a number of issues someone could have gone after Warnock on. 

Barkdoll said, “Walker of course had his own flaws. This was another one of these celebrity, Trump-backed candidates that nationwide different states did not do very well, but Republicans nationally did not dump the resources into this race that they did into other states. Could that have made the three-point difference yesterday? It might have, but this is now going to be a safe six-year seat for Warnock and the Democrats.” 

Jansen said, “Warnock was no less quote unquote flawed than Walker. They both had issues that could easily have been trumped up on his side just as much as they were on Walker’s side.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “You’ve also got next year Casey’s going to be up for it, Manchin’s going to be up for it. It’s not like we’re in for the next six years. There are going to be some key races next year that you want to do more damage, we can watch more damage out of the Senate. You’ve got people that are also in precarious situations that may just not go along to get along.” 

In 2024, the Senate map looks quite favorable to Republicans. 

Barkdoll said, “These are red states with Democrats in those Senate offices where it looks like the odds would be pretty good for the Republicans to flip the Senate in 2024. So Warnock gets a six-year term, but come 2024, there’s a pretty good chance the Republicans could flip two seats to regain control of the Senate. All eyes will already start turning to those races, just like people are already talking about the presidential election in 2024, you’re going to see these Senate candidates start ramping up even over the next few months for those races in 2024.”