Speed Reads

the candidate went down to georgia

Inside the Georgia Senate runoff

It's Dec. 6, and you know what that means — the Georgia Senate runoff has arrived. Will Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock come out on top of a tight race? Or will former professional football player and Republican Herschel Walker eke out the win?

Polls close at 7 p.m., meaning you can expect results shortly afterward. Georgia was notably one of the fastest states to report results in the November election, with nearly 80 percent reported by 10 p.m., per The Wall Street Journal. Warnock is thought to have an advantage among the ballots cast during early voting, suggesting Walker will have to win big with in-person votes on Tuesday to make up for the deficit. As a reminder, the pair's contest moved a runoff after both candidates failed to carry at least 50 percent of the vote in November.

As of Monday afternoon, support for Warnock was besting that for Walker by 1.9 percentage points — 50.2 percent to 48.2 — according a polling average from FiveThirtyEight. Still, the race could go either way. Not only are most of the runoff polls sampled by FiveThirtyEight within the margin of error, some are from "pollsters without established track records." Though that doesn't mean they'll be inaccurate, "it is a reason to take them with a grain of salt." (Five surveys from more well-regarded pollsters "all consistently put Warnock a few points ahead of Walker," for what it's worth.) 

The New York Times' Blake Hounshell also made the analytical case for both Walker and Warnock in his newsletter, On Politics. On the one hand, Warnock has vastly outspent his opponent and is, at this point, a seasoned campaign veteran; but Walker, on the other, is a conservative candidate in a conservative place, and might ultimately win back some of the voters he lost in November.

Regarding consequences — Democrats will hold onto their Senate majority either way, but the party can do plenty more with 51 senators as opposed to 50 (likely to Republicans' chagrin). For one thing, a Warnock win means Democrats can "organize the Senate and have majorities on each committee," paving the way for easy and quick judge confirmations, writes Bloomberg's Jonathan Bernstein. A 51st member also affords Dems some breathing room should one lawmaker stray from the unified pack (*cough cough* Joe Manchin), and covers the majority if there's an absence, a resignation, or even a death, among other advantages.