Midterms in the US: Democrat Warnock wins runoff in Georgia

The Democratic nominee gets 51.3 percent of the vote after hours of a neck-and-neck race. President Joe Biden’s party can thus expand its wafer-thin majority in the US Senate. For former President Donald Trump, the result is another defeat.

In the US state of Georgia, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock won the runoff against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. This was reported by the US television channels CNN and NBC on Tuesday evening (local time) based on vote counts and forecasts. President Joe Biden’s Democrats are thus expanding their wafer-thin majority in the US Senate.

According to CNN, Warnock received 51.3 percent of the votes cast, or just over 1.8 million votes and around 90,000 votes more than his Republican competitor. However, the counting of the votes is not yet complete, so the numbers are subject to change. After the polls closed at 7 p.m. local time, it looked like a stalemate with both candidates at exactly 50 percent before Warnock won the race just after 10:30 p.m. local time.

Election turnout was high both at the polling stations and in postal voting, said Returning Officer Gabriel Sterling on CNN. “People in Georgia were very motivated to cast their ballots.”

The runoff election in Georgia became necessary because none of the candidates received the required absolute majority in the nationwide midterm elections in the US southern state a month ago.

The Democrats had already secured 50 of the 100 seats in the Senate during the so-called midterms in November, when around a third of the Senate seats were up for election – and thus regained control of the important chamber of Congress. Because the Democratic US Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also President of the Senate, can vote in a stalemate. With the mandate of Democrat Warnock, the party now has a 51st seat in the chamber – and a somewhat more comfortable majority than before.

Warnock’s victory makes Georgia a key state in the 2024 presidential election. The Democrats have won three Senate elections in the former Republican stronghold in the past two years, including Democratic President Joe Biden who won the state in 2020. Walker’s poor showing is another midterm election defeat for a protégé of ex-President Donald Trump, who encouraged Walker to run and wants to run for the White House again as a Republican candidate in two years’ time.

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