Although the midterm elections were a few weeks ago, December 6, 2022 is the final day for the state of Georgia to vote in their runoff elections. Candidates Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock are neck and neck for the state's Senate seat and are making their final bids for support over the next 24 hours. The election marks the first time in history that two Black candidates have represented major parties on the ballot.
Runoff elections are typically a challenging show of support as it requires voters to keep the same energy and show up for who they believe is best fit in office. Runoffs are not unfamiliar to the state of Georgia and even though this year's cycle has seen a greater push to get folks to turn out the vote, it's a persistent struggle to overcome. To understand further understand how difficult this is, let's take a look back at history.
As shared by U.S. Vote Foundation, "the history of the December 6 runoff election in Georgia starts back in the 19th century when the perceived threat of newly emancipated (male) slaves actually exercising their right to vote ushered in an increasingly systematic and violent campaign of voter suppression, of which the runoff election is one manifestation." This precedent would continue into the next era. In the 1960s, Georgia Republican legislator Denmark Groover—who was also a passionate segregationist—initiated the idea that candidates would need over 50% of a vote in order to win. The state continued to use runoffs as an act of voter suppression given that Black folks are often dissuaded from the right to vote. With such a legacy that is still prevalent, it's no wonder why Georgia has been so politically divided.
If you have been tracking the progress and campaigning between both candidates, then you are likely familiar with Walker's inflammatory statements and outlandish takes on policy and crucial issues. His presence has been a reminder that all skinfolk ain't kinfolk and that it is important to be aware of the stances and ideologies carried by our elected officials both inside and outside the statehouse. At this point, Walker's hypocritical criticism of Black fathers abandoning their homes and the right to choose when discussing abortion is not surprising, and neither is his consistent base of supporters. Coupled with his close relationship with the tyrannical former U.S. president Donald Trump and idiotic ramblings, it's important to see him for who he is and understand in full what is at stake for Georgia. Folks are often so hellbent on ensuring that there is no true equity for all that they are willing to get behind a trash candidate who has no clear idea of the political landscape or what goes on in their own mind.
Rev. Warnock, an experienced and dedicated public servant with proven commitment, is in the lead but not by much. Republicans are holding out faith that Walker will be able to miraculously pull through, but the reality is that this is anyone's game at this point. “I think a lot of Republicans are hoping we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but there aren’t a lot of indications out there to base that on,” said Jason Shepherd, former chair of the Cobb County GOP. “Just a lot of hope and faith in things unseen. It’s the Christmas season, after all.”
And, not only does this particular runoff election determine Georgia's fate, it contributes to the establishment of which way the Senate will sway when it comes to majority control. For the sake of the country and its future, we need folks to rally behind Warnock. This is especially true after the devastating defeat of Stacey Abrams in the midterm election. A world in which Herschel Walker has influence over policy is not one trending in an upward direction of growth and prosperity.
So Georgia, do us this one solid and ensure that Reverend Warnock can resume his space in the Senate once more.