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Georgia run-off: What Warnock win means for Democrats, Republicans

The defeat of Walker, a millionaire American football star, in what was once a Red state has ensured that Georgia will remain a keenly watched contest in the 2024 Presidential polls.

georgia runoff, Raphael Warnock, Herschel Walker, georgia runoff election takeaways, express explained, indian expressUS Senator Raphael Warnock holds his daughter Chloe and his son Caleb in his arms during an election night party after a projected win in the US midterm runoff election. (Photo: Reuters)

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock emerged victorious in the Georgia runoff election Tuesday, defeating Republican Herschel Walker, winning his party an outright majority in the US Senate, and dealing a further blow to camp Donald Trump.

“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,” Warnock, a pastor and the state’s first Black senator, was quoted as saying by AP.

When no candidate receives an outright majority in the general election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters is necessitated.

The defeat of Walker, a millionaire American football star, in what was once a Red state has ensured that Georgia will remain a keenly watched contest in the next Presidential polls, as President Joe Biden tried to hold on to a state he flipped in 2020.

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Here is what the runoff verdict means for Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats

For the Democrats, the most obvious gain is the 51-49 Senate majority they will now enjoy. Republicans have control of the House, and at present, Vice President Kamala Harris has to step in as the tie-breaker in an evenly divided Senate.

While the 51-49 majority is still thin, it insures Democrats against possible vacancies and flips. So far, President Biden’s party has had to rely on consensus-building and support from some Republican Senators. They can do without it now, speeding up Senate business.

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Crucially, it allows Democrats to proceed with important appointments, including of judges, and to launch investigations and subpoena witnesses before Senate committees without the need of support from Republicans. This will come in especially handy as a Republican-controlled House is likely to announce its own investigations. “The subpoena power is going to be very important, especially as the House goes into overdrive on investigations. It will provide some check and balance,” Senator Chris Van Hollen was quoted as saying by The NYT.

Walker had tried to make the Senate control by Democrats a campaign issue, with one of his ads saying, “If I lose this runoff, Democrats will have a 51-seat majority where the most radical proposals will succeed. We cannot let that happen”, NYT reported.

Republicans

The runoff results could weaken Trump’s hold within the Republican party, with Walker becoming the fourth of his choices losing in elections. Before Walker, the Trump-backed nominees to lose are Arizona’s Blake Masters, Nevada’s Adam Laxalt and Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz.

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Walker lost even though his party won other contests in the state, just like Laxalt, who lost when a fellow Republican won the governor’s office. Masters performed worse than any other statewide Arizona Republican.

Walker’s nomination had been pushed through by Trump and he ran a Trump-ian campaign, saying things like pollution was caused by China’s bad air taking over the US’s good air, that he didn’t know what pronouns were and Jesus may not recognise transgener people if they tried to enter heaven, and that diabetes could be cured by “eating right”. His attacks on Warnock were personal, even accusing him of “being on his knees, begging” at the White House, which many saw as a racist remark.

With Trump preparing for a third bid for the White House, the Georgia loss will come as a major setback.

First published on: 07-12-2022 at 18:34 IST
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