Democrat Raphael Warnock of Georgia has been re-elected to the Senate, defeating his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, in a Dec. 6 Georgia runoff election that finally decided which party controls the United States Senate in the 118th Congress. For the past two years, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had honored a power-sharing agreement, since each party had 50 seats. The only thing separating the two was the tie-breaking vote of Kamala Harris in her role as Senate president. Harris, who appears to thrive on keeping a very low profile, can now breathe a sigh of relief that her only official duty has been rendered obsolete.
Warnock’s victory was a slim 51.4%-48.6%, with 99% of precincts reporting. Yet it was hardly unpredictable, given the fact that Democrats have been working hard to turn Georgia blue – and appear to be succeeding. Though the Peach State still has a Republican governor and secretary of state, it has been moving further left over the past few years, and the aforementioned senior officials seem content with that trend.
Democrats will now have control of Senate committees, which is a big deal, considering that Republicans are poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January.
Georgia Runoff Scapegoat
Former President Donald Trump had endorsed Walker and he, no doubt, will be blamed for this last chapter in the story of the Republican Party’s humiliating 2022 midterms performance. In one sense, the GOP establishment can perhaps hail this as its greatest victory; failing miserably in a midterm election that, by all conventional wisdom, was easily theirs for the taking, but being able to blame their ineptitude on a man who doesn’t even hold public office.
Fans of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will probably overlook the fact that he, too, endorsed Walker in the Georgia runoff. The correlation is petty and pointless, though, since it is virtually impossible to determine whether an endorsement affects any candidate’s success. Even Trump’s endorsements are not golden tickets to victory. Some tout his very impressive record of endorsing candidates, but others point out that he endorses a lot of candidates or incumbents who were widely expected to win, regardless of his support.
Walker may not have been an ideal candidate for Republicans, but the party seems to have mastered the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by putting up weak contenders in races that should have been easy wins.
Every two years, one-third of the Senate is up for grabs. In 2024, 23 Democrats and just ten Republicans currently serving in the upper chamber of Congress will be facing re-election. Taking the Senate, then, would appear to be virtually inevitable, which is cause for optimism for the GOP and its voting base. Going by the last two election cycles, though, it would be unwise to take anything for granted – and the establishment dinosaurs are now out of opportunities to blame Trump – unless he gets back to the White House.
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