K-State poli-sci professor talks possible outcomes of GA runoff election

Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker are going head to head Tuesday in a runoff election.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 2:37 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As voters turnout for Georgia’s runoff election, Americans are considering how Tuesday’s results could impact the nation moving forward.

Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker are running to become the next U.S. Senator for Georgia.

”In some states, like Georgia, you have to get over 50% of the vote to win and so in this election Warnock did get more votes than Walker did, but he did not get over that 50% threshold,” Kansas State University Associate Professor and Head of Political Science, Nathaniel Birkhead said. “So, in a runoff election what they do is they take the top two vote getters and they have only those two candidates in the race.”

Birkhead said a Warnock win would give democrats an edge in the Senate.

“Right now the Senate is a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker, so that means the Democrats have the upper hand,” he continued saying, “But, right now the Republicans actually have a power sharing agreement with the Democrats, so that means they share control of the committees. If Warnock wins, then that means they don’t need a power sharing agreement anymore and the Democrats now exert full control over the Senate committees and that also means people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have less influence than before. If Walker wins, that 50-50 tie stays in effect.”

Birkhead said this race also has 2024 implications, if the GOP gets the victory.

”If Walker wins that means the GOP has an early foothold in the 2024 elections, which is shaping up right now to be a pretty favorable Senate map for them, so that they could actually take control of the Senate then,” he added.

While the nation watches votes be tallied, Birkhead said to keep in mind that President Joe Biden’s overall power to push legislation through will see little impact.

”It’s going to make his life a little bit easier, but I’m going to say a little bit, because Republicans control the House and so very little legislation is going to go through anyway,” he continued saying, “I think the overall effects that we’re going to see in terms of our daily lives are going to be pretty modest.”

Birkhead said he is also watching voter turnout as a key to the election’s outcome. He said early voting, which tends to favor democrats, was high for the December runoff whereas same-day voting in Georgia has not been.