EThe first polls opened Sunday for the second day of the Georgia Senate runoff to decide whether Democrats will expand their Senate majority.
On the first election day on Saturday, 69,297 Georgians voted, corresponding Gabriel Sterling, a senior Georgia election official. Select counties will open elections throughout the week through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voter turnout is expected at the end of Day 2 top six numbers‘ Sterling said.
The early voting opens as campaigning enters a particularly awkward phase from opponents Herschel Walker and incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA).
In the first round of voting, Warnock Walker led with just 37,000 votes out of 4 million, falling short of the 50% threshold, triggering a runoff. This year’s runoff is on track with large turnouts, with the first day of early voting attracting twice as many voters as 2018, the sources said Washington Post.
Early voting almost didn’t happen on Saturday, but Warnock and his allies successfully challenged GOP state officials in court and won to open early voting after the Thanksgiving holiday.
BIDEN SIDESTEPPING GEORGIA SENATE RACE DESPITE MIDDLE-ELECTION SURPRISE
Those who turned out for the polls showed up for a variety of reasons — students who were home for Thanksgiving, first responders with busy schedules, engaged voters who wanted to cast their ballots as early as possible, and even people taking a break from holiday guests were looking for.
“We have a house full of company. That gave me a good excuse to get out a bit,” Bill Chapel, a Bartow County Walker supporter, told the outlet.
Notably, the country’s top Democrat, President Joe Biden, and its top Republican, former President Donald Trump, have both opted not to run for their respective candidates in the election, possibly out of concern for mobilizing opposition. Instead, several leading Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have made their way to campaign for Walker.
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Warnock has a major advantage over Walker in runoff funding, having nearly three times more campaign funds than his Republican counterpart. Federal Election Commission filings dated Nov. 16 show Warnock had $29 million compared to Walker’s $9.8 million in cash, CNBC News reported.
Much of the campaign was marked by personal attacks from both sides. Warnock reinforced bombshell allegations against Walker that he pressured women to have abortions when they became pregnant with his child, allegations that damaged Walker’s perception as an anti-abortion candidate. Warnock has also questioned Walker’s intelligence while portraying him as not serious and a liar Associated Press reported.
Walker repaid Warnock, a Baptist pastor, in kind and repeatedly questioned his opponent’s faith and morals. Walker has questioned his support for abortion and allegedly deplorable conditions in an Atlanta apartment building connected to Warnock’s church. He has also accused the Democrat of being a “negligent” father and even filmed an assault ad with Warnock’s ex-wife.