Democrats take Senate as Warnock defeats Walker in Georgia, Left banked hopes on Latino vote
President Joe Biden has already turned his sights to 2024 and has asked to place Georgia on the early presidential nominating calendar
December 7, 2022 8:42am
Updated: December 7, 2022 12:10pm
Sen. Raphael Warnock was reelected on election night by gaining a slim lead in Georgia against his Republican opponent Herschel Walker. The Associated Press called the race for Warnock with an estimated 93% of precincts reporting.
With 99% of precincts reporting by Wednesday morning, Warnock was leading 51.4% to Herschel’s 48.6%.
Walker conceded the race late Tuesday night, after the AP projected Warnock’s victory.
“There's no excuses in life and I am not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight,” the former football star told supporters. Unlike some other candidates facing defeat this election season, Walker did not reference his opponent or site election fraud, and instead reinforced his belief in the U.S. voting process.
He encouraged his supporters to keep voting and stay in the fight.
Warnock edged slightly ahead of Walker on Nov. 8, but fell short of the 50% state requirement needed to avoid a runoff election due to the 2% garnered by Libertarian Party Senate candidate Chase Oliver.
It is currently unclear what kind of impact Hispanic American voters had, but analysts predicted it could make a difference since the group make up 5% of Georgia voters, more than twice the margin needed for a victory.
“Watching the explosive growth of metropolitan Atlanta over the last decades, and especially the surge in Asian American and Latino voters, Republicans began to worry that their grip on the state was eroding,” reported the New York Times’ Blake Houndshell early Wednesday morning in a five-point takeaway election report…
"But it’s simplistic to say that demographics is destiny. On Nov. 8, Republicans won every statewide office other than senator, including Mr. Kemp’s, by an average of about seven points.”
While the Times report may be correct that demographics is not destiny, the Hispanic American vote may have had a significant impact. Last week ADN America reported that Latinos make up the third-largest group in Georgia totaling a population of 1.1 million statewide, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.
Of those 1.1 million Latinos living in the state, the Georgia Secretary of State has reported there are 300,000 registered voters, about 88% of which are “active.”
In August 2021 the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Georgia’s Hispanic population had “surged.” About a million young Latinos are expected to turn 18 every year for the next 15 years, according to the Pew Research Center, which means million Latinos will become new eligible each year for the next decade and a half.
Before Election Day, the state received 174,099 absentee ballots, with the Secretary of State determining that 1,715,062 individuals decided to vote early, for a total of nearly 1.9 million early voters, roughly 27% of the state's electorate.
Those totals demonstrate a decline in early voting from the January 2021 runoff race between Warnock and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler during the ongoing pandemic. In that race, about 3.1 million Georgians cast their ballots before election day.
While early voting usually favors Democrats, Republicans made a strong effort to move the party toward securing early voting ballots after the red wave failed to materialize in the Nov. 8 midterm election.
Mr. Warnock’s victory should signal a red flag for Republicans in Georgia and both parties are almost certainly now turning their focus to 2024.
President Joe Biden has already turned his focus to the future quipping with French President Emmanuel Macron about running for reelection in 2024, and he has pushed Democrats to add Georgia to the early presidential nominating calendar for 2024.
Still, since Republicans won many of the state races including the governorship, they’ll be the ones to make that decision and reports indicate they’re leaning against it.
The New York Times warned that both Biden and Warnock’s victories could be anomalies and that the state may swing red with different Republican opponents.
“[The Democratic victory] was by no means foreordained, and a stronger opponent might have beaten him. Had Mr. Warnock lost, many would now be questioning whether the Democrats’ victories in 2020 and 2021 were anomalies.” The Times wrote. After all, Mr. Biden won the state by fewer than 12,000 votes.
“Either way, the path to 270 Electoral College votes looks much the same for Mr. Biden in 2024 as it did in 2020: Win every swing state in the Midwest plus Nevada and New Hampshire, and keep Arizona and Georgia blue just in case.”