Raphael Warnock’s Runoff Victory In Georgia Can Be Explained By These 3 Statistics
The GOP is learning to live with the results of its recent opposition to voting by mail, while Herschel Walker couldn’t get the November swing he needed.
How the Democrats can win in Georgia is becoming more and more clear. In November, Republicans won every other statewide race in Georgia. On Tuesday, however, Republican Herschel Walker lost to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a Senate runoff. Warnock won about 51.4% of the vote, while Walker only got 48.6%.
Following his victory over Walker on Election Day, Warnock saw a slight increase in his margins of victory statewide during the runoff election. His confidence was boosted by the high voter turnout in the Atlanta metropolitan area, especially among African American voters. And he built up an advantage from early and mail voting that Republicans simply could not catch up to; this is a topic that the Republican Party is addressing belatedly after its disappointing performance in the midterm elections.
The following statistics break down how the incumbent Democrat was able to maintain their lead.
Mail And Early Voting Gave Warnock An Edge Of More Than 320,000 Votes
The outcome of the runoff election in Georgia once again brought to light the recent partisan divisiveness that has occurred around voting methods. Since the election in 2020, Republican leaders such as former President Donald Trump have expressed skepticism of early and absentee voting methods. Despite this, several Republican leaders other than Trump appear to be rethinking their opposition after suffering losses in Georgia and other places.
During the runoff, Democrats dominated both of those modes of voting, with Warnock receiving more than 58 percent of the support from those who submitted their ballots early or by mail. This was in part a reflection of the demographic groupings who were more likely to vote early: Black voters accounted for 31.8 percent of those who cast their ballots ahead of Election Day, which was several percentage points higher than in November.
Even though records were broken in the first few days of early voting, the total number of votes cast during early voting was still significantly lower than it was during the runoff elections in January 2021. During those runoffs, the early voting period was longer, and the overall turnout — including votes cast on Election Day — topped 4.4 million, whereas only 3.5 million people voted on Election Day this year.
Warnock was able to create a lead of more than 320,000 votes, which Walker was unable to overcome on Election Day. However, early and absentee voting helped Warnock to build this lead. The Republican nominee won the vote on Election Day by a margin of approximately 225,000 votes, but this was not enough to put him in the lead.
Walker’s Lead Has Grown In Only 26 Out Of 159 Counties Since November
After finishing slightly behind Warnock in the election held in November that prompted the runoff, Walker needed to either improve his margins or increase the number of voters who supported him to win.
It was beyond his capabilities. According to an analysis conducted by unofficial results provided by the office of the Georgia Secretary of State, Walker’s percentage of the vote among those who identified with both major parties increased in only 26 of the state’s 159 counties. Because the majority of the counties in which he was successful in gaining ground were relatively unimportant and located in rural areas, accounting for only five percent of the state’s total votes cast, Walker was unable to secure a sufficient number of votes to counteract Warnock’s advancements in other parts of the state.
It was inevitable that this would be difficult because popular Republican Governor Brian Kemp would not be running for reelection, but Kemp did participate in the runoff election after he was already elected. Kemp’s victory by a margin of more than 7 points, which came despite some voters splitting their ballots, most certainly helped Walker stay competitive in November.
It’s easy to see how Reverend Warnock would have made that 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff, according to Jermaine House, a spokesperson with the progressive research firm HIT Strategies. “Without a candidate like Brian Kemp who was so popular and so good at campaigning and getting people to the polls, it’s easy to see how Reverend Warnock would have made that,” House said.
Walker’s life did not completely come crashing down around him. He nonetheless came within a few percentage points of winning the election, even though he was involved in several scandals and Democrats outspent Republicans by a ratio of 2 to 1 in the last weeks before the runoff. After a disastrous Election Day, he was unable to make significant gains across the state, which resulted in him falling short of the majority.
Compared To November, The Turnout In Democratic Strongholds In The Atlanta Area Was Close Enough To 90 Percent
More than 3.5 million people participated in the runoff election, which is roughly 89 percent higher than the turnout in the general election that took place in November. High participation rates are not necessarily advantageous to either of the two candidates. But Walker, who was running a close second in the election that took place in November, needed a relatively higher turnout in counties that lean Republican in comparison to counties that lean Democratic. That did not come to fruition in any significant way.
The only county in which more votes were cast in December compared to November was Johnson County, which is located in east central Georgia and is Walker’s home turf. However, it did not work out to Walker’s advantage, as Warnock increased his vote share in that particular area.
The fact that Democratic strongholds in metro Atlanta saw relatively high turnouts was the most important factor for Warnock. The voter participation rate in DeKalb County was significantly higher than the statewide average. Although the turnout was slightly lower in Clayton and Fulton counties, Warnock improved his margin slightly in both counties, which more than made up for the decline in turnout.
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