Democrat Raphael Warnock defeats Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia runoff

Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated his Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia’s runoff election yesterday, US decision desks have claimed.

According to the New York Times, Mr Warnock opened up a 37,000 vote lead with 95 percent of ballots counted.

Mr Warnock was looking to deliver Joe Biden’s Democrats an enormous boost in Washington DC by winning the Peach State’s runoff poll.

Victory for Warnock ensured the Democrats have taken control of the Senate after John Fetterman also made a vital gain in Pennsylvania’s race against the Grand Old Party’s candidate Dr Mehmet Oz.

Following his victory, Mr Warnock simply said: “Thank you, Georgia. We did it again.”

The 53-year-old southern Baptist preacher led Mr Walker in the election on November 8 but fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off.

Mr Warnock’s first bid for the Senate in 2020 also went to a run-off after he defeated Kelly Loeffler in the once-safe Republican state.

Mr Biden, who became just the second Democratic presidential nominee to win the Peach State since 1984, responded to results ahead of the official declaration by voicing his optimism about taking the Senate seat.

President Biden told reporters at Joint Base Andrews: “We’re going to win. We’re going to win Georgia.”

Vice President Kamala Harris previously had the deciding vote in the Senate as it was split 50-50 after the last set of elections.

Democratic control means Mr Biden’s party will hold majorities on each committee, have the power to issue subpoenas and even find it potentially easier to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

Mr Walker’s defeat rounds off a lacklustre midterm campaign for Republicans, particularly among those supported by ex-POTUS Donald Trump.

The 45th President supported the ex-Dallas Cowboys’ running back in his bid to enter the upper chamber.

In a last-ditch plea on his social media platform Truth Social, Mr Trump said: “To the great state of Georgia, vote today for Herschel, he will never let you down.”

Republican strategists have taken aim at the former POTUS over the GOP’s failure to win in the Peach State.

Douglas Heye, a veteran communications expert from George W Bush’s White House, said: “Donald Trump has won Democrats three Senate seats in Georgia in just two years.

“That takes some kind of talent and McConnell was right – candidate quality matters.”

Prominent Iowa Republican Bob Vander Plaats also tweeted that Walker’s defeat was yet “another blow to former President Trump”.

He added: “Conservatives across the country are tired of losing – 2024 is key to winning the future again.”

The result will come as an additional blow to Mr Trump’s re-election hopes.

The 45th President announced his candidacy for the 2024 US Presidential Election at his Mar-a-Lago home shortly after the GOP failed to make a red wave a reality on November 8.

Despite struggling in swing Senate polls and suffering net losses in key gubernatorial races, Republicans managed to narrowly take control of the House of Representatives.

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