Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia defeated Republican former NFL star Herschel Walker in Tuesday’s Senate runoff.
Warnock, 53, was elected to a full six-year term after defeating a 60-year-old Republican challenger to win a special election in January 2021 – Tuesday’s victory gave Democrats control of the Senate 51-49 expanded.
In a race called Tuesday night by several media outlets, including NBC and CNN, Warnock had nearly 94% of the vote, 50.4% to 49.6%.
Warnock won the Senate in January 2021 in part by defeating Sen. Kelly Loffer, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by then-Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s resignation at the end of 2019 .
In the November 8 by-election, Warnock and Walker were forced to run for a full term after neither received more than 50% of the vote.
The strong election brought out some of the biggest political guns in both parties, with former President Trump and Republican senators like Lindsey Graham behind Walker, while former President Obama and President Biden rallied for Warnock.
Walker and Warnock remained close in the polls, but the former gridiron began to fall behind after Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. John Fetterman defeated GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in November to flip the state’s Republican seat. . Democratic majority in the Senate.
Democrats currently control the Senate 50-50 thanks to the tiebreaker vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Warnock was promoted from Obama in the final days of the campaign, and former first lady Michelle Obama has appeared in several of the Democrat’s ads.
Warnock also benefited from a surge in early voting, especially in Democratic strongholds, which broke single-day records until Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Walker has often struggled to overcome allegations from a pair of women who accused him of paying for abortions, despite questions about his pro-life position and his fitness to serve in the Senate.