The News out of the Georgia Senate Runoff Isn't Good

We are starting to get our first non-poll indications of how the Georgia Senate runoff is going, and it’s not good news for Republicans. According to the state, a new record for early voting has been set, which typically means outsized Democrat turnout.


The race between Republican nominee Herschel Walker, and Senator Raphael Warnock is breaking grounds on single-day voting records. More than a million votes have already been cast in the Georgia senate runoff as Walker and Warnock continue to make their final pitches to swing voters to get-out-the-early-vote until it ends on Friday.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what I expected to happen, not because I’m all that smart, but because it was very predictable that Republican enthusiasm would be crushed the moment this race no longer decided the balance of power. Due to a range of issues, from candidate quality to voter mobilization strategies, Democrats retained the Senate weeks ago, meaning that the race between Republican Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael Warnock holds far lower stakes than it did.

The outcome still matters, though. The difference between a 50/50 US Senate and a 51/49 one is the difference between Democrats controlling the committees and them being evenly split. In an evenly split environment, Republicans retain some control over things like judicial nominations. How much that means in practice when Lindsey Graham keeps rubber-stamping Biden appointees is debatable, but it’s important in the overall scheme of things, nonetheless.


But while I can explain that all day long on this site, getting the average voter to understand that is a different challenge. It also doesn’t help that Walker is a uniquely terrible candidate, caught up in scandal after scandal, minimizing the fact that his opponent is also scandal-ridden.

Then there are the early voting drives taking place in Georgia. Black churches are blatantly violating the law to outright endorse and campaign for Warnock from the pulpit. “Souls to the Polls” drives also push the boundaries of electioneering, yet are prevalent.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure Republicans have anything comparable going on. Heck, I haven’t even heard of any major campaign events taking place for Walker. Is he just trying to coast in?

None of this looks good for Walker and the GOP. Not unless there’s been some systemic shift in who is showing up to early vote, and I’m not sure there’s any evidence of that. Had Republicans, including those who fancy themselves leaders of the party, been pushing early and mail-in voting the last month, I’d have more faith things have changed.


Regardless, all those in Georgia can do is show up to vote and hope the early voting totals aren’t indicative of any advantage. Not only could this race decide the power dynamic regarding committees, but it could be the difference in control in 2024. You never want to concede a seat in a razor-thin environment.


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