With 95% of the votes counted, the Senate battle became too close between Warnock and Walker.

Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Sen. Herschel Walker were embroiled in a hotly contested election in Georgia on Tuesday night.

The question is whether any candidate can win the contest outright, or head to the runoff vote on December 6th. Due to the state’s quirky election laws, Tuesday could be Round 1. Third party candidate Voting may not cross the 50% threshold for neither Warnock nor Walker.

“I didn’t come here to lose,” the famous athlete-turned-politician said in a brief remark to supporters at his election monitoring party outside Atlanta. rice field.

Warnock followed shortly before midnight, telling his supporters gathered in downtown Atlanta that he expected a close match and would continue to watch the tally.

“That’s where we are, so we just hang in there,” he said. “I feel good.”

a run-off campaign Depending on the results of other Senate elections, it could be a four-week blitz that could replicate the 2020 election cycle. Two Senate Runoff Ballots In Georgia, it doubled as a national winner-takes-all battle for control of the Senate. With Warnock and Ossoff’s victories, Congress split his 50-50 between his two major parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie vote for the Democrats.

A runoff vote would mean Warnock would smack Walker, who is making his first bid for public office, as ineligible, and Walker would attack Warnock as a rubber stamp for the White House.

“Rafael Warnock will vote Joe Biden 96% of the time,” Walker has told voters repeatedly. “He forgot about the people of Georgia.”

Warnock, who is also the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said Walker was “unprepared” and “unfit” for high officials.it is an allusion to Walker’s Rocky Pastfrom allegations of violence against his ex-wife Accused by two women Walker once dated that he encouraged and paid for abortions despite public opposition to abortion rights.

Both approaches highlight the candidate’s most obvious responsibility.

With intergenerational inflation high and Mr. Biden’s popularity waning in Georgia, Mr. Warnock wants voters to make regional choices instead of a referendum on the entire Democratic Party. .Warnock, Georgia’s first black U.S. Senator market yourself as a pragmatist It cuts deals when Republicans want it, and pushes cost-cutting measures backed by Democrats when they don’t. Warnock emphasizes that the crowning achievement is lowering the cost of insulin and other drugs for Medicare beneficiaries.

“I will work with anyone to get something done for the people of Georgia,” Warnock said.

Walker, meanwhile, denies he ever paid for the abortion. and detailing a series of other stories — documenting his business record, academic achievements, and exaggerated philanthropy. He publicly acknowledged an additional three children during the campaign after the media reported their presence.

Through what he calls “stupidity” scrutiny, Republican candidates have campaigned as cultural and financial conservatives. Walker, who is also black, vows to “bring people together” while framing Warnock as a divisive figure on issues of race and equality. Walker uses fragments of Warnock’s sermons in which the Reverend and Senator discusses institutional racism to justify his attacks.

Republicans used similar tactics against Warnock ahead of Warnock’s victory in the run-off election on January 5, 2021.

If the race does end up in the second round, it could be because Republican-leaning voters like Doreen Hendricks cast their ballots in the Atlanta suburb of Tucker, DeKalb County, on Friday, the final day of early in-person voting. there is.

Hendricks voted to re-elect Republican Governor Brian Kemp, but said he felt “angry” at her choice in the Senate race.

“The Georgia Republican Party feels persuaded to accept Herschel Walker,” Hendricks said. “Unfortunately, I voted libertarian. I’m not into libertarians either. I know that will probably lead to an outflow.”

Indeed, the return shows Walker running by a good margin over Kemp.

Nearly half of Georgia voters say the economy is the most pressing issue facing the country. AP voting castis a large survey of over 3,000 voters across the state.

When state voters cast their ballots, rising costs were cited as their top concern, with about nine in 10 saying high prices for food, gas and other commodities would be a significant factor in voting in this election. said to be a factor.

Only 1 in 10 Georgia voters identified the U.S. Supreme Court decision that stripped women of their constitutional rights as the most important issue facing the country, and nearly 5 in 10 said the economic and employment specific. But abortion still affects voter turnout. About 7 out of 10 of her Georgians said it was an important factor in how they voted.

According to the AP Vote Cast, Georgia voters were more likely to say Mr. Warnock had the right experience to serve effectively in the Senate than Mr. Walker.

Nearly six in 10 voters say Warnock has the right background to serve as a senator. Only about four out of ten said the same thing about Georgia football icon Walker.

State voters are also more likely to say Warnock has strong moral values, with about half of voters saying so about the senator. said.

Associated Press journalists Jeff Amy and Stephen Smith contributed to this article.Amanda Seitz contributed from Washington.