Election 2022: Raphael Warnock Wins Georgia Runoff

By Terrance Turner

Dec. 6, 2022

Tonight, voters in Georgia — and across the nation — awaited results from the pivotal Georgia runoff. It’s a rematch of last month’s midterm election, which was too close for comfort. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) had a narrow lead over the Republican candidate former NFL player Herschel Walker. But neither candidate got more than 50%, so the race headed to a runoff.

After polls closed at 7 p.m. Eastern, the secretary of state’s office reported that about 1.4 million Georgians had voted — possibly more than on general election day in November— which brought turnout to 3.3 million when combined with the nearly 1.9 million early voters. After long waits of over an hour in many counties in the week of early voting, election day ran smoothly, per the Los Angeles Times, with voters in most counties facing relatively short wait times.

BREAKING NEWS: CNN and MSNBC are projecting that Sen. Raphael Warnock has won re-election to the U.S. Senate. With 95% of the vote in, Warnock has 50.4% of the vote to Herschel Walker’s 49.6%.


The Candidates

These two candidates could hardly be more different.

Raphael Warnock

 Rev. Raphael Warnock (born 1969) is one of twelve children, a man born to Pentecostal preachers. He is also a pastor who obtained a B.A. in psychology from Morehouse College and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He came to prominence in Atlanta, after becoming senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2005. Warnock became the youngest ever senior pastor of Ebenezer, at age 35, according to HeritageHouse.org. It was the same church once led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In 2014, Warnock gained national attention after he helped lead a sit-in inside the Georgia State Capitol. He initiated the direct action to convince lawmakers to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (Under the ACA, all U.S. residents up to 133% of the poverty line would qualify for coverage. It will cost Georgia more to cover residents under partial expansion than if it simply expanded Medicaid fully, as the ACA calls for.)

Warnock was among dozens arrested as a result of the sit-in. But he remains a supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a government-run public option. “Jesus spent a lot of time healing the sick,” he said. “Even those with pre-existing conditions.” Warnock also supports abortion rights and gay marriage, per the New York Times. (He was endorsed by Planned Parenthood in 2020.) That makes him a unique candidate.

Political Career

In January 2020, Warnock decided to run in the special election for the United States Senate seat held by Kelly Loeffler. (She was appointed after John Isakson resigned in December 2019.) On November 3, 2020, Georgia held a special general election on the same day as the regularly scheduled U.S. Senate election. Neither candidate got more than 50% of the vote. So the race went to a runoff.

On January 5, 2021, Georgia held its runoff election. Loeffner had a narrow lead over Warnock initially, but as the night wore on, Warnock took the lead. He eventually won the election with 51% of the vote. In so doing, he made history. Raphael Warnock is the first Black Senator elected from Georgia.

Photo from Blackpast.org.


Herschel Walker

Born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1962, Herschel Walker was one of seven children. A CNN profile reveals that he grew up overweight, with a stutter, and was bullied by other kids. He started working out at 15, doing pushups and sit-ups, and eventually shaped up enough to become a three-sport athlete.

At Johnson County High School, Walker competed in football, basketball, and track. He rushed 3,167 yards for the high school football team, helping the Trojans win a state championship. (He later claimed to have graduated valedictorian of the school. But CNN later found that Johnson County High School didn’t even name a valedictorian until 1994.)


At the University of Georgia, Herschel Walker shined. He rushed for 1,616 yards and 15 touchdowns his freshman year. The Georgia Bulldogs were undefeated (at 12-0) and won the national title. They beat the University of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship.

As a sophomore, he ran towards career highs: 1,891 rushing yards and 18 TDs. (Georgia went 10-2 in 1981, and Walker finished second in voting that year, according to the Heisman website.) Then, in his junior year, he ran for 1,752 yards and 16 touchdowns — finally earning the Heisman in 1982. He became only the sixth junior to win the award.

(Original Caption) New York, New York: Georgia running back Herschel Walker, the most dominant player in college football the last three years, adds the Heisman Trophy to his treasure chest 11/4. Walker became only the sixth junior to win the coveted bronze statue.

Walker decided to go pro. He joined the United States Football League (USFL), signing with the New Jersey Generals. In his first season, Walker rushed for over 2400 yards and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia). In his three-year USFL career, Walker rushed for 5,562 yards.

After the USFL folded, Walker signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1986. He joined fellow running back Tony Dorsett on the team. Walker rushed for NFL career highs of 1,514 yards and 505 receiving yards; he made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 1987 and 1988. He later went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

He returned to the Dallas Cowboys before retiring in 1997.

Post-NFL: Mental Illness & Violent Threats

In 2001, Herschel Walker was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder). The National Alliance on Mental Illness says: “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental health condition marked by frequent mood changes, an unstable self-image, and intense and unbalanced relationships.” (Other symptoms include suicidal behavior or threats and difficulty controlling anger.)

Walker has described battling up to a dozen personalities (or “alters”, per the Associated Press). The National Alliance says that the disorder creates “alternating between multiple identities” with memory gaps, and states that men with the disorder “exhibit more violent behavior”. Indeed, Walker’s wife (who filed for divorce the year of his diagnosis) cited “physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior” in her filing. She told ABC News that Walker once pointed a pistol at her head and said, “I’m going to blow your f–king brains out.”

Campaign Scandal

According to CNN, Walker said he would support a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks. He said in May that he supports a ban and that there are “no exceptions in my mind.” That means no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

But apparently Walker supports one exception — for himself.“A woman who asked not to be identified out of privacy concerns told The Daily Beast that after she and Walker conceived a child while dating in 2009, he urged her to get an abortion. The woman said she had the procedure and that Walker reimbursed her for it.

She supported these claims with a $575 receipt from the abortion clinic, a “get well” card from Walker, and a bank deposit receipt that included an image of a signed $700 personal check from Walker.” (The woman said there’s a $125 difference because she “ball-parked” the cost of the procedure after looking it up on Google. She added travel costs.)”

According to the $575 receipt, the abortion took place on Sept. 12, 2009. And according to the Bank of America deposit receipt, Walker wrote the woman a check for $700 on Sept. 17, 2009. (She deposited the check two days later.) The woman told The Daily Beast that Walker mailed her the check inside the “get well” card.



With 59% of the vote in, a narrow lead: Raphael Warnock has 50.1% of the vote; Herschel Walker has 49.9% of the vote. And before CNN anchor Jake Tapper could finish throwing to a correspondent, Walker took the lead: 50.2% versus 49.8% for Warnock.

With 61% of votes counted, Walker went up by a percentage point. Walker led with 50.5%, and Warnock had 49.5%.

But just minutes later, Warnock retook the lead. 71% of the vote in, Warnock seized 50.5% of the vote, with 49.5% of it going to Walker. As the poll results came in, those gathered at Warnock’s headquarters in Atlanta burst into cheers. Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine” played in the background.

UPDATE (approx. 8:10 pm): this race is now in a virtual dead heat. With 75% of vote in Georgia being counted both candidates have 50% of the vote. It was a tie until Walker squeaked ahead:

UPDATE (app. 8:40 pm): It’s still a dead heat. With approximately 85% of the vote in the two remain deadlocked at 50%, but as CNN anchor Dana Bash was reacting to that result Walker inched ahead, leading 50.1% to Warnock’s 49.8%.

UPDATE (8:48 pm): MSNBC is declaring the race too close to call. 87% of the vote is in. Warnock led with 50.3% versus 49.7% for Walker.

UPDATE (9:24 pm): with 91% of the vote in the candidates were tied. But all of that was about to change.

Victory Speech

Raphael Warnock delivered his victory speech tonight.

“Thank you, Georgia,” he said, to resounding applause in cheers. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart and to God be the glory.

And after a hard-fought campaign – or should I say campaigns — it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: the people have spoken.

I’ve often said that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children voting is faith put into action. In Georgia, you have been praying with your lips and your legs, with your hands and your feet, in your heads and your hearts. You have put in the hard work and here we are standing together.

I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to my mother, who is here tonight. We’ll see her in a little while,” he said. “She grew up in the 1950s, in Georgia, picking somebody else’s cotton and somebody else’s tobacco. But tonight, she picked her youngest son to be United States Senator for Georgia.”


“I am a proud son of Savannah, Georgia– a coastal city known for its town squares and its cobblestone streets. Tall, majestic oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss.

“I want to thank my siblings. I’m one of 12; my parents clearly read the Bible – ‘Be fruitful and multiply’,” he joked. “Our family was short on money but long on love. Long on faith.”

 Save as PDF

Leave a Reply