Politics

Patrick Swanson / December 03,2022

Republican hopes fade as Warnock momentum picks up in Georgia

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Republicans are hoping for a surprise in the closely divided state, but their mood has turned grim about Herschel Walker’s chances.

Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker barnstormed Georgia in a final plea for votes amid signs of growing momentum for the Democratic incumbent — and fading GOP hopes — ahead of Tuesday’s runoff.

Both parties are expecting a close outcome on Tuesday in the closely divided state. After a November election that defied expectations in countless races around the country, a Walker victory is not out of the question.

But from Warnock’s first-place finish in the first round of voting to scattered polling and temperature checks of Democratic and GOP operatives, Warnock heads into Election Day as at least a slight favorite to win a full six-year term.

“I think a lot of Republicans are hoping we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but there aren’t a lot of indications out there to base that on,” said Jason Shepherd, former chair of the Cobb County GOP. “Just a lot of hope and faith in things unseen. It’s the Christmas season, after all.”

Over the weekend, Warnock had the heavier schedule of the two: On Saturday and Sunday, he sprinted to six events in various cities, while also delivering a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he serves as senior pastor and told parishoners that “voting is a form of prayer.”

Warnock warned repeatedly on the campaign trail that record-breaking turnout in the early voting period does not guarantee victory. Democrats have been encouraged that the large early vote totals mean a significant portion of their voters have already cast ballots — and that Republicans wil need to make up serious ground on Election Day turnout.

Patrick Swanson / December 02,2022

As a descendant of Holocaust survivors, I can’t ignore the GOP’s anti-trans crusade

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Two days after a gunman opened fire on people gathered for a drag show at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five people and injuring 19, Herschel Walker, Georgia Republican senatorial candidate, released an ad in which he appeared alongside a former college athlete who claimed she had been victimized by the inclusion of trans women in her sport. 

As a descendant of a Holocaust survivor, I see frightening parallels in the long lead-up of laws in Hitler’s prewar Germany with the current climate for trans people in this country.

In the ad, former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines says, “For more than a decade, I worked so hard, 4 a.m. practices, to be the best. But my senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male,” referring to Lea Thomas, a trans woman. Walker adds, “A man won the swimming title that belonged to a woman.”

Nevermind that Gaines and Thomas tied for fifth place in the March race. Nevermind that both received trophies, only Gaines received hers later by mail. In her view, she was the real woman on the podium — and Thomas had taken something from her.

With views like this permeating high-profile, mainstream politics, the implications for trans people are truly chilling. That Walker could be elected to the U.S. Senate in the Georgia runoff election Tuesday makes it even more so.

Watching Republicans adopt violent transphobia as a central plank of their party is alarming, but it’s not without precedent. And history has shown us time and time and again what happens when people stay silent when groups of people are oppressed. 

Patrick Swanson / November 29,2022

In the Georgia Senate Runoff, Trump Has Been Told Don’t Show Up

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From a story on politico.com by Natalie Allison and Meredith McGraw headlined “Walker to Trump: Please phone it in.”:

A week before the Georgia Senate runoff, former President Donald Trump has no plans to appear on stage with his handpicked candidate, Herschel Walker. It’s not even under discussion.

The retired football star is traveling the state with a rotating cast of national GOP surrogates. But unlike Georgia’s January 2021 Senate runoff, when the former president held two rallies including an election-eve event, this time Trump has been conspicuously out of the picture.

Both national and state Republicans say it would be best for Trump to, quite literally, just phone it in for the runoff.

“I think he’d be more effective if he did it by phone,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, suggesting Trump participate in an election-eve automated call to GOP voters.

Gingrich compared the hypothetical get-out-the-vote call to what Trump did for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in 2021, when Youngkin kept a healthy distance from Trump throughout the campaign, but benefitted from his 11th-hour appeal to GOP base voters.

Trump, who launched his own presidential campaign on Nov. 15, did not hold a rally for Walker during the general election, doing so only ahead of the state’s May primary. But people close to Trump say he has found other ways to be helpful to Walker, by continuing online fundraising and possibly holding a tele-rally in the coming week. And Trump also reiterated support for the candidate during his own presidential announcement at Mar-a-Lago.

Patrick Swanson / November 28,2022

Editorial: Is Georgia’s runoff system really fair?

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After Raphael Warnock won 49.4% of the election vote and Herschel Walker 48.5%, Georgia is headed to a runoff election.

Georgia law requires a runoff election if a candidate does not receive at least 50% of the vote in general elections. Louisiana is the only other state that has this requirement.

While this may seem like a fair law, ensuring a candidate is backed by half of the voters, the law has a racist background.

From 1917 to 1962, Georgia used the county unit voting system, allocating a certain number of votes based off classification (rural, urban and town counties) to Georgia counties regardless of population. The candidate who won the majority of a county’s vote represented the whole county in the election.

This voting system suppressed black voters by giving the same number of votes to predominantly white rural counties as the most populous county with many black voters.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the county unit voting system by reaffirming the “one person, one vote” concept.

“The origins of the runoff election process as the continuation of the blatantly racist county unit system came as the result of an effort by a number of legislators to curtail the power ‘bloc voting,’ a euphemism for Black voters, following the upending of the county unit system,” according to the U.S. Vote Foundation, which is a private, nonprofit nonpartisan public charity founded in 2005.

This was proved in a deposition in a legal case in 1984 by State Representative Denmark Groover, who proposed the runoff election system for Georgia.

Patrick Swanson / November 27,2022

Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker court Brian Kemp voters in final week of Georgia Senate runoff

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Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker court Brian Kemp voters in final week of Georgia Senate runoff

Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker court Brian Kemp voters in final week of Georgia Senate runoff

 

With one week to go before Georgia’s Senate runoff, heavy hitters and big dollars from both national parties are pouring into the state for a race that will determine the balance of power in the Democratic-controlled Senate next year.

But the most sought-after stamp of approval belongs to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who was comfortably reelected to a second term this month after defying a Donald Trump-backed primary challenge earlier in the year.

Patrick Swanson / November 27,2022

Why Do Black Voters Matter In Georgia? Black Voters Matters’ LaTosha Brown Explains Why

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Why Do Black Voters Matter In Georgia? Black Voters Matters’ LaTosha Brown Explains Why

 Why Do Black Voters Matter In Georgia? Black Voters Matters’ LaTosha Brown Explains Why

 

While the midterm elections in November are over, there is still a hotly contested race going on in Georgia. Democratic incumbent Ralphael Warnock and Republican Challenger and former NFL star Herschel Walker are headed to a run-off. What does that mean for the state of Georgia and the United States Senate? How can the Black vote move the needle?

Co-founder and executive director of the Black Voters Matter organization, Latosha Brown stopped by the GetUp! Church this morning. There are lots of issues around voting and democracy, specifically impacting communities of color and Brown gives us the information on why our vote matters so much.

ERICA: Let’s talk about the runoffs, the Senate race in Georgia, incumbent Democrat, Reverend Raphael, Warnock, and Republican Herschel Walker, can you explain why this race is so important in the state of Georgia and for the country?

Patrick Swanson / November 27,2022

2022 Georgia Senate runoff: Georgia sets one-day early voting record

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  • 2022 Midterm Elections
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    Georgia has broken its record for the most ballots cast in one day during early voting, with just one week until a pivotal runoff in the state’s U.S. Senate race between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. 

    On Monday, over 239,160 Georgians cast their ballot, according to Interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling. This beats the previous record for early voting in one day of over 233,252 votes in 2018. Sterling tweeted Monday afternoon that they’ll “break a quarter million voters today.” 

    “We’re excited,” Sterling told CBS News. “It’s a testament to voters and poll workers and poll managers across the state to pull this off. It’s not easy to move a quarter of a million people.” 

     

    Over the holiday weekend, where some counties were able to conduct early voting after Georgia Democrats sued, over 180,000 votes were cast. That was about 2.6% of the total active voter base in Georgia. 

    According to data from Georgia’s Secretary of State office, 46% of that weekend’s voters were Black and 57% were female. 

    Early voter turnout for the runoff has been highest in several Democratic leaning counties around Atlanta such as Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb County. 

    In the Nov. 8 election, neither Warnock nor Walker surpassed the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff election. Warnock won 49.4% of the vote and Walker got 48.5% of the vote. While Democrats have secured the majority in the Senate, a Warnock win would give the party more space to pass their agenda and put an end to current power sharing of committees. 

Patrick Swanson / November 26,2022

Georgia Runoff Early Voting Turnout Has Democrats Celebrating

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Georgia Runoff Early Voting Turnout Has Democrats Celebrating

Georgia Runoff Early Voting Turnout Has Democrats Celebrating

25 counties across Georgia kicked off early voting Saturday in preparation for the December 6 runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA). And turnout was “massive.”

There was a question about whether Saturday’s voting could even happen. Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger at first said that Saturday voting was fine. But later, he reversed himself pointing to a state law against voting two days following a holiday.

Senator Warnock and the Democratic Party of Georgia went to court. Their argument was that this state law did not “apply to runoffs.” When a Fulton County judge agreed, the secretary of state’s office then “appealed to the state Court of Appeals, which upheld the initial ruling.”

The Georgia Republican Party, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Republican National Committee took the issue to the Georgia Supreme Court, which denied their request. Republicans do better when a smaller number of voters come out.

But in DeKalb County, it took two hours for voters to make their way through the lines. The town of Marietta opened its polls at noon in Cobb County.

Patrick Swanson / November 23,2022

Senator Ted Cruz Explains Why the Georgia Runoff Election Matters a Lot

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Senator Ted Cruz Explains Why the Georgia Runoff Election Matters a Lot

Senator Ted Cruz Explains Why the Georgia Runoff Election Matters a Lot

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been spending much of his time in Georgia lately in the hopes of helping fellow Republican Herschel Walker win the Senate runoff race against incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D). If Walker wins, he would ensure that the Senate stays at the current 50-50 power-sharing split between the two parties (with tie-breaking votes handed to Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris). If Warnock prevails, he will alter the power balance, favoring the Democrats 51-49.

As per Senator Cruz, there's plenty riding on this one vote, which is yet to be determined. In an interview with Fox News, he said, “If the Democrats win here, Joe Biden can quickly fill the federal courts with radicals, with radicals who would take away your liberties and mine, who would take away your rights to religious liberty, your rights to free speech, your Second Amendment rights. It also puts us incredibly close to [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer being able to end the filibuster.”

Patrick Swanson / November 17,2022

Lindsey Graham Campaigns for Walker in Georgia Senate Runoff Against Warnock

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Lindsey Graham Campaigns for Walker in Georgia Senate Runoff Against Warnock

Lindsey Graham Campaigns for Walker in Georgia Senate Runoff Against Warnock

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) lent his support to Herschel Walker on Thursday as Walker’s runoff election against Raphael Warnock looms on Dec. 6.

“What we need to understand is that if we win this seat, it changes the course of the country. It changes the Republican Party forever because Herschel Walker is a transformational figure in American politics,” Graham told a gathering of almost 400 people in Gainesville, on scenic Lake Lanier in north Georgia.

He got the crowd going for Walker on a cold night outdoors in front of the Carroll Daniel Construction building in downtown Gainesville. Graham was to have been joined by fellow Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and John Kennedy (R-La.), but they had to return to Washington for a vote, said a member of Walker’s staff.

Walker’s campaign has been gathering support from other Republicans in a race that will determine whether Democrats control the Senate or have to share power with the Republicans. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who won a decisive victory over Stacey Abrams last week in another closely watched race, is putting his campaign machinery to work for Walker.

“Want to feel warmer?” Graham asked the crowd, bundled up against temperatures that dropped into the 20s overnight. “We fired Nancy Pelosi today.”

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