Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Tim Meads.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia's 2022 Senate runoff election. DecisionDeskHQ called the race at approximately 9:48 p.m.
Neither Walker nor Warnock secured more than 50% of the vote during the general election, thus triggering the runoff election held on Tuesday. Warnock's victory follows a disappointing midterm election from Republicans across the United States, aside from several bright spots in the Georgia and Florida gubernatorial races.
Many pre-midterm polls and analyses predicted a "red wave," with Republicans taking the House by a wide margin, and even the Senate by two to four seats, but following the midterm, Democrats have held the Senate.
This is Warnock's second runoff after he defeated GOP candidate Kelly Loefller in the 2020 race, which was also not decided on the day of the general election - however, there were some changes to the voting process this time around.
Under The Peach State's 2021 voting reform law signed by incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (R), the state of Georgia shortened the time between the day of the general election and the runoff election from nine weeks to just four. Similarly, the bill also condensed early voting from more than two weeks to just one week.
More than 1.8 million Georgians voted early in the state's Senate runoff election scheduled for December 6, including a record-high 353,000 voters on Friday, the final day of early voting.
The official numbers from the Secretary of State recorded 1,868,127 early voters. The total revealed that more than one million female voters voted early, according to the state's statistics.
The number of early voters was below the total from the recent November midterms in Georgia, when about 2.5 million voters cast their ballot before Election Day.
Despite the high level of early voting, the total is still lower than in the 2020 presidential election, when approximately 2.5 million Georgia residents voted early. Midterm elections generally draw smaller numbers of voters, with the state reflecting lower numbers experienced nationwide between the 2020 and 2022 elections.
In reaction to the turnout, Georgia's Secretary of State's Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling told CNN over the weekend, "There's obviously a lot of enthusiasm. Both Democrats and Republicans can point to the turnout models and say, 'that's good for us' so nobody knows what's going to happen."
The post-general election campaigning saw big stars from both parties turn out for their respective candidates.
Kemp - who defeated Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams this year - sat down with CNN to express why he was showing up for Walker during the runoff.
"The runoff now is a very simple choice,"
Kemp said at one point in the interview. "You know, are you going to vote for somebody that's been with Joe Biden 96% of the time, or are you going to vote for somebody that's going to go up there and fight for Georgia? And that's the way I'm voting."
As noted by CNN, Kemp was more hands-off during the general election. Walker was the only state-wide GOP candidate to not win outright on election night in 2022.
On Warnock's side, Democrat heavyweight former President Barack Obama campaigned for the incumbent in the final stretch.
During one stop, Obama mocked Walker for a story he recently told about vampires and why he would want to be a werewolf instead. The 44th president said that Walker can be anything he wants to be - just not a United States senator.
The former president compared Walker to a "crazy" "Uncle Joe."
"We all know some folks in our lives, who we don't wish them ill will. They say crazy stuff and we're all like, 'Well, Uncle Joe, you know what happened to him,'"
Obama said to laughs from the audience. "They're part of the family, but you don't give them serious responsibilities."
Throughout both the general and run-off campaign, polls showed Warnock and Walker neck-and-neck.