US elections: Georgia senator re-elected, Biden consolidates his majority

Democrat Raphael Warnock was re-elected to the United States Senate after a hard-fought second round in Georgia, thus strengthening the very small majority saved by his party at the end of the midterms on 8th November last.

Georgia’s election was very close in November and state law required a runoff. Warnock’s victory is narrow. After counting 99% of the estimated votes, he leads by 50.8% of the vote against 49.2% for former Republican football player Herschel Walker, supported by Donald Trump. The last ballots are still being counted early this Wednesday morning. Turnout was 45%, a fairly decent result compared to other elections.

The result solidifies Georgia as a very important state for the upcoming 2024 presidential election battle. Democrats have won three Senate races in the past two years, in the former Republican stronghold, and the Democratic president Joe Biden won 2020 there. “Let’s party for a little while on that mountain. Let’s dance because we deserve it. But tomorrow we’re going back down to the valley to do the work,” Warnock, a Baptist preacher, told his cheering supporters.

“Tonight (Tuesday), voters in Georgia stood up for our democracy, rejected ultra MAGAism and most importantly: they sent a good man back to the Senate,” President Joe Biden greeted, referring to the slogan of his predecessor Donald Trump: Make America Great Again, MAGA.

$400 million spent

Walker’s campaign was marred by repeated gaffes. A staunch opponent of abortion, a key issue in these elections after the Supreme Court challenged that right, he was dogged by reports that he paid several former girlfriends to have abortions, allegations that he denied. “I’m not going to apologize now, because we fought a hell of a battle,” he told supporters on Tuesday, conceding defeat.

This Democratic victory does not change the balance of power in the US Congress: the Democrats had already made sure to keep control of the Senate in November; with one more seat, however, they will have more elbow room in parliamentary committees. The Republicans have meanwhile taken over the House, but with a much shorter majority than expected.

This Warnock-Walker campaign – the most expensive of the midterms with more than 400 million dollars spent – closes the midterm elections. The next step in the American electoral process, which never stops, is the gubernatorial race in a few months for the states of Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi. The first two are currently Democrats, the governor of Mississippi is Republican. 2023 will also see the rise of candidates for the Republican primary. Donald Trump has already launched his long-distance race, all devoted to this goal, so as not to be overwhelmed by the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, or his former vice-president Mike Pence, who is thinking about it. There are 699 days left until November 5, 2024.

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