Distaste for Walker provides tailwind for Warnock in Georgia

Dec 1, 2022, 10:21 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 12:39 pm
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks during a rally on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Atlanta. Warnock i...

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks during a rally on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Atlanta. Warnock is running against Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff election.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

              Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks during a rally on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Atlanta. Warnock is running against Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff election.(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
            
              This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 3, 2021, left, and Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaking in Perry, Ga., Sept. 25, 2021. Georgia voters have cast more than 1 million ballots ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. (AP Photo)

MORROW, Ga. (AP) — It might go without saying that Democrats generally vote against Republicans. But in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff, it can hardly be overstated how much Democratic voters — and others — are driven by not wanting Republican challenger Herschel Walker to be their U.S. senator.

Ask Raphael Warnock’s voters what they think about the election, and it’s often criticism of Walker that first comes tumbling out.

“You’ve got a very ignorant, ignorant, ignorant fellow that’s running in Herschel Walker,” said Dennis Paris, an entertainer who lives in the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro and voted for Warnock this week in Morrow. “I can’t see going through another thing like we had with an ignorant Trump making decisions for us, not caring about the people.”

Even many Georgia Republicans who are voting for Walker, the former University of Georgia and pro football star, say they’re not so much motivated by liking him as by disliking President Joe Biden’s administration and Warnock’s support for Biden’s policies

Tuesday’s runoff is far from settled. Warnock led Walker in the general election on Nov. 8 but came up short of a majority, necessitating another round of voting under state law.

Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won Senate seats in January 2021 following a runoff, giving their party razor-thin control of the Senate. But runoffs in Georgia historically have favored Republicans, in part because turnout has tended to fall sharply.

A heavy election day turnout by GOP voters could still push Walker to victory. After all, Republicans won every other statewide Georgia race last month.

However, distaste for Walker appears to be buoying Democratic enthusiasm. Some party leaders had feared their voters wouldn’t be motivated to turn out again for Warnock after the Democrats secured two more years of Senate control with victories in other states.

A strong early voting turnout has eased those worries. Through Thursday, nearly 1.5 million people had cast ballots early in Georgia, including several record-setting single days.

According to state voting data compiled by Ryan Anderson, an independent analyst in Atlanta, three of the state’s five Democratic-held congressional districts had already seen advance turnout through Thursday of at least 61% of the total early vote for the November election, None of Georgia’s nine Republican-held congressional districts had eclipsed that mark.

Some Walker voters are uneasy about him, too. Tom Glass, a software engineer who voted for Walker on Thursday in Marietta, said he reluctantly chose the Republican.

He backs Walker, he said, because he wants change in Washington, but he acknowledged, “I know all of the stuff that is said about him, and a good bit of it is actually true.”

Glass said he thinks the election matters less because Democrats already control the Senate, but he chose Walker anyway. “Is he the answer? No, but I don’t think Warnock is the answer.”

John McCombs of Riverdale said he voted for Walker simply because “I feel the nation is heading in the wrong direction.”

“I hope he can stop some of the policies that have taken our nation down the wrong path,” the information technology worker said, citing particular concern over “spending money we don’t have.”

In speeches and ads, Warnock and other Democrats have been playing up their portrait of a badly unqualified Walker who could disgrace their state.

“How embarrassed would you be if Herschel Walker was your senator?” asks one flyer mailed to homes this week by the Democratic Party of Georgia.

One Warnock television ad shows voters reacting with puzzlement and disgust to Walker remarks, including a Nov. 16 speech that included a tangent where Walker sought to relate the plot of the vampire movie “Fright Night” to his campaign.

He suggested that if voters only had faith, they could defeat Warnock by relying on greater patriotism and unity that ignores racial division.

But that message got buried by Democratic mockery slamming Walker as unserious, including by former President Barack Obama Thursday in a rally with Warnock in Atlanta.

“Since the last time I was here, Mr. Walker has been talking about issues that are of great importance to the people of Georgia — like whether it’s better to be a vampire or a werewolf,” Obama said. “This is a debate I must confess I once had myself — when I was seven. Then I grew up.”

Democratic voters frequently say they believe Walker is in over his head, lured into the race by former President Donald Trump or other Republicans who are relying on Walker’s football celebrity to snag a Senate seat for the GOP.

“I just feel like he’s a pawn, like they said ‘Let’s get Herschel in so we can get the seat,'” said Sherri Gates of Morrow. “I just don’t feel like he is qualified.”

Gates describes herself as a firm Democrat who supports Warnock, pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s former Atlanta church, because “for one thing, he’s a decent human being.”

“I do not want Herschel to represent me and my state,” she said. “He seems to have a hard time expressing himself. He just doesn’t appear to be a good representative of anybody, maybe even himself.”

Walker argues that it’s Warnock who doesn’t know what he’s doing by backing Biden so much.

Warnock says, “Come on. Georgia is better than Herschel Walker!”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

substation...
Associated Press

Puyallup man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood, 32, after renewed efforts by his attorney to get Greenwood into a drug-treatment facility.
1 day ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Associated Press

Democrats in Washington state choose Conrad as new leader

The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.
1 day ago
FILE -- Police block a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Yekaterin...
Associated Press

Global report highlights link between corruption, violence

BERLIN (AP) — Most of the world continues to fail to fight corruption with 95 % of countries having made little to no progress since 2017, a closely watched study by an anti-graft organization found Tuesday. Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, […]
1 day ago
Morning service concludes in the annex of the Cathedral Notre Dame du Congo in Kinshasa, Democratic...
Associated Press

Pope’s Africa trip spotlights conflict, and church’s future

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is opening a six-day visit to Congo and South Sudan on Tuesday, aiming to bring a message of peace to two countries riven by poverty, conflict and what Francis has called a lingering “colonialist mentality” that still considers Africa ripe for exploitation. Aid groups are hoping Francis’ trip will […]
1 day ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian shares fall in muted trading ahead of Fed meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited decisions on interest rates and earnings reports from around the world. Traders were awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, expected on Wednesday. They also were watching for indicators on the Chinese economy, the region’s key engine for growth. […]
1 day ago
Private and home school students, their parents and advocates crowed part of the second floor of th...
Associated Press

‘School choice’ is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators in Kansas are focusing on helping conservative parents remove their children from public schools over what’s taught about gender and sexuality rather than pursuing a version of what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Distaste for Walker provides tailwind for Warnock in Georgia