Coverage of Georgia’s runoff election December 5, 2022

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock takes the stage at a campaign rally in Atlanta on Thursday.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock takes the stage at a campaign rally in Atlanta on Thursday. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

On a recent Sunday, former U.N. ambassador Andrew Yang rode his motorcycle through a southwest Atlanta neighborhood with Democratic Senators Raphael Warnock, Martin Luther King Jr., and a crowd of enthusiastic marchers .

The group stopped to vote at an early voting location and lined up, some waiting an hour to vote.

Young, 90, says he’s picky about his public appearances, but sees the “soul of the polls” campaign as a way he can inspire black people in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate runoff race between Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Voter Activities – One A historic showdown between two black men.

community leaders and political observers say The black vote has always played a pivotal role In high-stakes races for Democrats, including 2021, Warnock beats the then-Senator. Kelly Loeffler in the final.

Key Demographics for the Democratic Party: Likely black voters were nearly unanimously Democratic (96 percent for Warnock, 3 percent for Walker). CNN Poll Figures released last week put Warnock in the narrow lead.

Warnock’s second runoff victory could again depend on black voter turnout in the corresponding race. If Warnock wins, it would give Democrats an outright majority in the Senate — not relying on a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris — and allow Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to gain more control over key committees , and some laxity over judicial and administrative confirmations that could have divisive fights.

Voting is “the path to prosperity” for the black community, Young said. He noted that voters made Atlanta’s public transportation system and economic growth possible.

“Where we vote, we succeed,” Yang said.

The rally led by Young, King and Warnock appeared to set the tone for many black voters in Georgia. early voting surge across the state last week queue report Across the greater Atlanta area.

Early voting numbers look promising: As of Sunday, more than 1.85 million ballots had been cast, with black voters accounting for nearly 32 percent of turnout, According to the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State. The sharply reduced early voting period starting in 2021 ended Friday.

Billy Honor, Director of Organization New Georgia Project Action Fundsaying black turnout so far looks promising for Democrats.

“When we get 31 percent to 33 percent black voter turnout in any election statewide, that usually favors the Democrats,” Honor said. “If it’s between 27 percent and 30 percent, that’s usually good for Republicans.”

Honor added: “It has electoral implications because we know that if you’re the Democratic candidate, the coalition you have to assemble is a certain number of college-educated white men, a certain number of women, and as many young people as possible. people — and black voters. That’s the coalition. (Former President) Barack Obama shattered that coalition in 2008 in a way we’ve never seen before.”

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