Warnock, Walker advance to runoff for Senate seat in Georgia

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock will face Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6, 2022, runoff. (Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP, File; AP Photo/Akili-Casundria Ramsess, File)

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will meet in a Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia after neither reached the general election majority required under state law.

That sets up a four-week blitz that again will test whether voters are more concerned about inflation under Democratic control of Washington or the Republican candidate’s rocky past.

Warnock styles himself as a pragmatist in a partisan era. He’s touted deals with Republicans on infrastructure, agriculture and other matters, while emphasizing measures he sponsored to cap insulin and other drug prices for Medicare recipients. Warnock also framed Walker, a celebrity athlete making his first bid for public office, as unqualified and unfit for high office.

Walker has tried to make the choice a referendum on national Democrats, caricaturing Warnock as a rubber-stamp for President Joe Biden amid sustained inflation. The former college and professional football star campaigns as a cultural and fiscal conservative but has offered few policy specifics.

Abortion is a dominant issue in the campaign. Walker, who backs a national ban on abortion, denies allegations by two former girlfriends that he once encouraged and paid for their abortions. Warnock calls for a federal statute affirming the right to abortion services but has sidestepped questions about whether he’d support any limits on access.