All to play for in Georgia Senate race
A new poll of voters in Georgia, reported on November 29 shows that Republican Herschel Walker and Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock are tied with 50% of votes each as the December 6 runoff vote approaches. The poll carried out by FrederickPolls, COMPETE Digital and AMM Political predicts that the runoff will be extremely close.
The main point to note from the poll data is that independent voters still favor Warnock over Walker at 52% versus 48%. Whether the poll proves to be accurate or not remains to be seen, but it represents a much closer divide between the two candidates than existed in the run up to midterms.
The effects of endorsements and late campaigning
Just prior to the start of voting in the original midterm election, former president Barack Obama appeared in the Peach State to campaign on behalf of Raphael Warnock. Obama was keen to draw comparisons between the Republican Walker, and the former one-term president Donald Trump who had originally endorsed him and pushed him as a suitable candidate.
Obama was particular stark in his assessment of the Republican's motivation to run, and the potential consequences for Georgians if he were to win:
"Seems to me he's a celebrity who wants to be a politician. We've seen how that goes."
"There is very little evidence that he has taken any interest, bothered to learn anything about or displayed any kind of inclination towards public service or volunteer work or helping people in any way. At least we don't really know about it, and that does make you suspect."
While Walker was quick to respond to Obama's comments, pointing out his motivations and qualifications for running. Meanwhile, It has emerged that Obama will appear in Georgia on December 1, to offer his support to Warnock again as the runoff approaches.
The question is, who can Walker rely on to provide similarly useful help to the Republican in the last few days before the runoff?
Republicans discourage Trump from visiting Georgia
While various polls have predicted a variety of outcomes, one thing remains constant for the Republican party at this point - they want Donald Trump to stay away from Georgia until the runoff is over.
The sentiment first emerged following the announcement on November 15 that Trump would be running for a second term in the White House. The events since his announcement from Mar-A-Lago in Florida suggest that the former one-term president may be falling out of favor within the Republican party, conservative media and even amongst GOP mega-donors.
Commenting on the matter, a senior adviser to Trump's 2016 campaign - Mike Biundo - put it bluntly:
“Walker’s campaign needs to be the priority and focus for our party.”
The only Georgia Republican who would likely be in favor of Trump visiting Georgia imminently, would likely be Marjorie Taylor-Greene - one of Trump's most avid fans and a strong bet for filling the post of his running-mate.
As early voting begins, Georgians will soon know whether this latest poll is accurate and voters are divided, or whether there's clear winner. It certainly isn't over yet!
Do you think that polls predicting a close runoff are accurate, or will one or other candidate be a clear winner? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.