Did the GOP learn anything from Herschel Walker's loss?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

Herschel Walker.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) won Georgia's Senate runoff election this week, beating first-time candidate Herschel Walker, a former professional football star, to strengthen Democrats' control of the Senate by giving them a 51-49 majority. That will get Democrats out of the power-sharing deal they had to make with Republicans in the current 50-50 Senate, and grant them a majority on all committees. It also will keep any single Democrat from blocking one of President Biden's nominees, or holding up legislation, and will boost the party's chances of retaining Senate control in 2024.

Warnock won by 2.8 percentage points, expanding his November lead of just 0.9 percent. Republicans immediately started debating what the defeat — in a key race in a once reliably red state — meant for the party. Some blamed Walker, an unvetted political newcomer who sailed to the nomination with former President Donald Trump's enthusiastic support, but battled gaffes and reports that he paid for ex-girlfriends' abortions despite his support for a ban on the procedure. Others said the GOP needed to find campaign messages with more appeal to voters beyond the MAGA base. Did Walker's loss teach Republicans a lesson they can use to avoid a repeat of election disappointments like the one Georgia voters just handed them?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.