September 24, 2023

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is defending his Senate seat against Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election in Georgia Tuesday, after days of record-breaking early voting in the state. 

On Tuesday morning, CBS News’ Nikole Killion asked Walker what he thought the outcome of the race would be. “We’re going to win by 100,000,” he predicted at his sole campaign stop today at the Marietta Diner.

Warnock, meanwhile, spoke to canvassers and reporters on Tuesday, saying he felt good and he told Killion that he had no regrets about the way he campaigned. “I hope that people will continue to show up – I’ve seen people stand in the rain for a concert and there’s really too much at stake,” Warnock said. 

Since Democrats flipped the seat in Pennsylvania and successfully defended the other seats in play in the November midterm elections, Democrats will retain control of the Senate, regardless of the outcome on Tuesday. But they will have more power if they control the chamber 51-49 since they will not have to work out a power-sharing agreement with Republicans. This will be the last election of the 2022 midterm cycle. 

Polls close in Georgia at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. 

Although Warnock held a narrow lead over Walker on Election Day, he did not win more than 50% of the vote, which is required to avoid a runoff in Georgia. 

According to exit polls on Election Day, voters in Georgia were split in their views of the most important qualities in a candidate: 36% said it was most important that the candidate shared their values, while 32% said a candidate’s honesty and integrity were most important to them.

Ahead of the general election, Walker’s campaign was rocked in October by allegations that he paid for at least one woman to have an abortion. He has denied the allegations, and national Republicans stuck by him. 

A record-breaking number of early voters have turned out in the runoff, smashing all previous records. 

Former President Barack Obama campaigned with Warnock last week, although President Biden, who flipped the state in 2020, has not visited the Peach State to stump for Warnock. Former President Donald Trump has not campaigned in person with Walker in the runoff but was scheduled to hold a tele-rally for Walker Monday night.

Georgia played a key role in the 2020 elections, when the races for both Senate seats went into special runoff elections in January 2021, ultimately flipping both seats from Republican to Democratic. Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue led Jon Ossoff after Election Night with 49.7% of the vote, but he ended up falling short in the runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. In the race for the other seat, Warnock led incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a 21-person race on Election Day, and he prevailed in the special election to fill the vacancy left when Sen. Johnny Isakson stepped down.

Elizabeth Campbell and Aaron Navarro contributed to this report. 

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