Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, says he will not run for U.S. Senate, leaving Georgia Democrats without a candidate to oppose Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.
Warnock had been considering a run for months, and just last week spoke at a major Democratic fundraiser.
In a statement Warnock said, “As much as I would have been honored to run and to serve, I have decided that, given my current pastoral and personal commitments, this is not a good time.”
Warnock’s decision leaves Georgia Democrats, at least for the moment, without a big-name candidate to oppose Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson. The party was excited by the prospect that Warnock would enter the race. Many saw him as an energetic candidate who could revive the party and get African-American voters to the polls. That in turn would attract Democratic presidential candidates to the state.
Republicans dominated last year’s state contests, despite polls that appeared to indicate the races for governor and U.S. Senate would be close.
It’s not clear which Democrats might want to take on the difficult task of challenging Isakson. Major party names like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and former state senator Jason Carter have already indicated they aren’t interested.
You can read Rev. Warnock’s full statement as well as a statement from Georgia Democratic Chairman Dubose Porter below.
Rev. Warnock’s Statement:
After careful thought and prayerful consideration, I have decided that I will not run for the United States Senate in 2016. I am thankful for the overwhelming support from my congregation and grateful to the many Georgians who have expressed great interest in my candidacy. They have urged me to carry their concerns for a state that works well for everyone to Washington. As much as I would have been honored to run and to serve, I have decided that, given my current pastoral and personal commitments, this is not a good time. Nonetheless, I will continue to raise my voice and channel my activism in addressing voting rights, wealth inequality, equal pay for women and criminal justice reform all toward the aim of making Georgia better and America stronger.
Georgia Democratic Chairman Porter’s statement:
We respect Rev. Warnock’s decision and appreciate him taking this under consideration. We wish him only the best. The reverend should be admired for the love he has for his church family and our state. Running for public office is a weighty affair, and most often a life-changing journey. Rev. Warnock’s journey has just begun, and Georgia Democrats look forward to working with him to make our state a better place.