An endorsement from former President Barack Obama for Rev. Raphael Warnock is the latest pressure on other Democratic candidates to step away from the special Senate election for the seat held by Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.
Obama released a slew of Democratic endorsements for candidates around the country Friday, including for Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Jon Ossoff, 7th Congressional District nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, incumbent 6th District Rep. Lucy McBath and seven Democrats vying for General Assembly seats.
Obama joins a chorus of endorsements for Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, who has emerged as the top Democrat in several recent polls, including from the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams Thursday urged other Democratic candidates in the free-for-all special election without party primaries, including former educator and lawyer Matt Lieberman and former state Senator and U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver, to consolidate their support behind Warnock.
“I served with Ed Tarver. I think he is a good man, but he also has no pathway to victory. This is one of those few times where we do need all hands on deck. We need everyone to consolidate,” she said in a Thursday press conference.
“There are 21 candidates on that ballot. And name recognition is going to be a big part of it.”
Abrams said Warnock is the only candidate with the ability to win.
“If we want a real leader we need Matt Lieberman to understand that he is not called for this moment and to step back and let support consolidate around Raphael Warnock,” she said.
Lieberman and Tarver have refused to be swayed by the pressure. In a statement on Twitter Thursday, Liberman said Democrats “must be about giving the people the right to choose who will lead them, and not limiting that choice before they even have a chance to vote.”
Earlier this week Tarver wrote, “Voters should have the opportunity to select the candidate who is most qualified and prepared to represent them in Washington. I have a proven record of public service as a U.S. Attorney, state senator, and veteran. Experience matters, especially in a runoff election.”