Cook Political Report - Toss Up
Sabato Crystal Ball - Toss Up
to the FM Senate Slate
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"We were told that we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible. May my story be an inspiration to some young person who is trying to grasp and grab hold of the American dream. And so, Georgia, I am honored by the faith that you have shown in me. And I promise you this tonight: I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election. (Excerpt of Rev. Warnock's victory speech)
Whoever would have thought that in the state of Georgia we would see the people… rise up and send an African American man who grew up in public housing, the pastor of this Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King preached, and a Jewish young man, the son of an immigrant, to the US Senate? (CNN)
It is my hope that businesses, athletes, and entertainers can protest this law not by leaving Georgia but by coming here and fighting voter suppression head-on, and hand-in-hand with the community." (CNN)
Warnock grew up in a Savannah, Ga., housing project, the 11th of 12 siblings in a blended family. The elder Warnock served in the Army in World War II, and family lore includes a time when he was asked to give up a bus seat while in uniform. In Savannah, he salvaged cars and preached on Sundays in a Pentecostal Holiness church, hanging an American flag behind his pulpit and beginning services with the Pledge of Allegiance.
He had moved to New York to attend the prestigious Union Theological Seminary, where he would go on to earn two master’s degrees and later a doctorate. That is where Mr. Warnock landed a job as youth minister at the Abyssinian Baptist church. While there, Rev. Warnock protested negative stereotypes in rap lyrics and criticized the heavy-handed police response to a “Million Youth March.” He also spoke out against the welfare work requirement put in place by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor, calling it a “hoax” in which “poor people are being put into competition with other poor people.”
In his early 30s, Mr. Warnock was tapped to lead the Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore. He began his tenure by urging members to fight urban blight and drug addiction and encouraging clergy to be tested for H.I.V., at a time when AIDS was ravaging Black communities. In 2005 he was selected to be senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist, the church in the heart of Atlanta, at which Martin Luther King Jr. served as co-pastor at the time of his assassination.
Stacey Abrams got to know Rev. Warnock first in her role as a lawyer for the city of Atlanta, then as the Democratic minority leader in the Georgia Assembly. In 2014, she went to him for help with an ambitious voter registration plan.
He became a spokesman for Ms. Abrams’s New Georgia Project, working with the group to expand its voting drive to congregations, and later replaced Ms. Abrams as chair of the board of directors.
Reverend Warnock was drafted by Democrats to run for the special election for the Georgia Senate Seat in 2020 against appointed Senator Kelly Loeffler. He was able to win that seat in a nail-biter of a run-off election in January 2021, and with the simultaneous election of the other Georgia Senator, Jon Osoff, was able to win the Senate for the Democrats.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A SENATOR
Senator Warnock has only been in office since January 2021 but has made his mark. He has introduced 32 bills. Warnock has voted with the Biden Administration 100% of the time. He has worked hard to deliver for Georgia and he is one of the leaders in the fight to pass laws supporting Voting Rights and a strong supporter of modifying the filibuster to do so.
Because Senator Warnock won a special election, he must run again in 2022. The Republican challenger is former football star Herschel Walker, who was recruited and endorsed by the former President. His entry to the race cleared the field, despite the fact that he doesn’t currently live in Georgia, has no experience, has a documented history of domestic violence and has shown himself to be completely unqualified. Unfortunately, there have been examples of football heroes who are similarly unqualified being elected in Southern states (Tuberville in Alabama) so Walker cannot be written off. At this point, the Republican Party has reluctantly embraced Walker as the frontrunner because of the former President’s endorsement.
Since there will be a 3rd party candidate on the ballot for this race and since 50%+1 is required to be declared a winner in Georgia elections, there is a strong likelihood that a run-off election will be needed to decide the outcome of this race. If needed, this election will be held in early December 2022.
Member, Joint Economic Committee
Member, Special Committee on Aging