Call it a battle royale. Call it Mandingo fighting. Senator Raphael Warnock’s election win over Herschel Walker has brought the 2022 election season to a close with Mr Warnock winning 51.22% of the vote while Mr Walker managed 48.78% of the vote with 98% of Georgia’s precincts reporting.
Two questions came to mind while observing the returns. First, why was Mr Warnock unable to win the race by more than four percentage points? Second, why did the GOP support Mr Walker’s bid?
Answering the first question requires an understanding of Georgia’s demographic make-up. According to U.S. Census Bureau demographic data, whites make up 59.1% of Georgia residents while blacks make up 33% of Georgia’s population. Most black Georgians support Democratic candidates. In 2021, 73% of black voters supported Mr Warnock’s first bid for Senate and those voters likely delivered again for the Senator.
Mr Warnock ran the tables in metro Atlanta in addition to doing well in Georgia’s other urban areas. What may have minimized Mr Warnock’s win was race. Georgia, in addition to being a Republican state, may have seen some voters deciding not to vote for either candidate due to race. The reality is some whites, whether Democrat or Republican, may not see either candidate as relatable due to race.
Yes, it is 2022, but to deny the existence of race bias is naïve.
Regarding the second question, the Georgia GOP putting Mr Walker up as a candidate defies all logic. Was the Georgia GOP testing how strong the Democrats would be in 2024 by putting Walker up against Warnock? Probing the Democrats’ strengths in 2024 by running a candidate with sub-optimal campaign skills seems to be a waste of a senate seat.
Or could it be that the GOP wanted to show that Mr Warnock is not in touch with what it considers to be the real Georgia? Mr Walker gave me “anywhere outside of I-285” tease. I see Mr Walker as more relatable to Georgians living outside of Atlanta. For the Georgia GOP, finding a candidate impervious to outside campaign funding of Democratic candidates by the Left may be the long-term play.
A candidate that is relatable to Georgians living outside of I-285 while exhibiting just enough media polish should be sought out by the Georgia GOP. The Georgia GOP should apply this rough model in their hunt for a candidate to take on Jon Ossoff.
The battle royale between two political lightweights provided the distraction necessary for managing the electorate. As the dust settles, it is time for the Georgia GOP to start focusing on 2026.
7 December 2022
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