Joe Biden's party won a new US Senate seat on Tuesday with Democratic Raphael Warnock's victory in Georgia, according to television networks.
The incumbent senator defeated Republican Herschel Walker, a protege of former president Donald Trump. The victory confirms the very slim Democratic majority in the upper house of Congress.
With Warnock’s second runoff victory in as many years, Democrats will have a 51-49 Senate majority, gaining a seat from the current 50-50 split with John Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania. There will be divided government, however, with Republicans having narrowly flipped House control.
In last month’s election, Warnock led Walker by 37,000 votes out of almost 4 million cast, but fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Walker, a football legend who first gained fame at the University of Georgia and later in the NFL in the 1980s, was unable to overcome a bevy of damaging allegations, including claims that he paid for two former girlfriends’ abortions.
Democrats’ Georgia victory solidifies the state’s place as a Deep South battleground two years after Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff won 2021 runoffs that gave the party Senate control just months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate in 30 years to win Georgia.
Voters returned Warnock to the Senate in the same cycle they reelected Republican Governor Brian Kemp by a comfortable margin and chose an all-GOP slate of statewide constitutional officers.
“I’ll work with anyone to get things done for the people of Georgia,” Warnock, the state’s first Black senator, said throughout his campaign, a nod to the state’s historically conservative lean and his need to win over GOP-leaning independents and at least some moderate Republicans in a midterm election year.
Walker's defeat bookends the GOP’s struggles this year to win with flawed candidates cast from Trump’s mold, a blow to the former president as he builds his third White House bid. (AP/AFP)