Behind the drama of the presidential race, the election on November 3 Raphael Warnock brought into the national spotlight.
Warnock, senior pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, is one of two Democrats fighting in the January 5 by-election for several U.S. senate seats in Georgia. If they had won, they would have handed over control of the Senate to the Democrats, which would have changed the election of President Joe Biden’s first term.
If he wins, Warnock will also make history as Georgia’s first black American senator and only the 11th black senator in the country’s history. In an interview with Yahoo News last week, Warnock said the historical significance for him “is not lost”.
“Being Georgia’s first black senator would be a great honor,” said 51-year-old Warnock, who grew up in the Kayton Homes projects in Savannah, Georgia, and was the 11th of 12 children. “I hope that when I reach out, I will encourage and inspire other marginalized people and people with a good conscience in our state to fight for what they believe in.”
The pastor went on to say: ‘In no other place than America is my story even possible. So I believe that the American dream is still possible, but that it is slipping away from far too much, and the gap between the ports and the staples is becoming a gulf. ‘
The importance of the Georgia contests also seems to resonate with the state voters, of which more than 2 million, according to state data, have already voted in the races. These types of out-of-cycle matches usually draw much less than the higher-profile presidential contest, but the early votes so far are just behind the November election, in which 5 million Georgians voted.
And many of these Georgians are familiar with Warnock again, thanks to the small millions of dollars spent on advertising by Democrats and Republicans to defend and attack him.
Both of Warnock’s parents were Pentecostal preachers, and Warnock’s father served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Warnock wanted to follow in the footsteps of Rev. Martin Luther King jr. Follow and attend Morehouse College, a historically black, male university in Atlanta, and eventually earned four degrees before becoming pastor of the famous Ebenezer Baptis in 2005. Church, where King preached earlier.
‘Things are harder now than for me [growing up], and this was especially true in this pandemic, ”Warnock told Yahoo News. “We need a leader who will work and fight for Georgians.”
Warnock opponent Kelly Loeffler is a businesswoman and a fellow political newcomer. She was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to her seat when Senate Johnny Isakson retired late last year, citing health problems. Although President Trump wanted Kemp to appoint one of his allies to the seat, Loeffler shamelessly put her stamp in office by shamelessly accepting both Trump and the conservative cultural wars that have shaped much of his presidency. She made the most headlines as co-owner of the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA; She sent a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert earlier this year accusing her of politicizing the game and writing that the “Black Lives Matter political movement” was not in line with the league or her team.
The run-off race was defined by heavy blows between the Loeffler and Warnock campaigns.
Loeffler repeatedly called Warnock a “socialist” and “the most radical and dangerous politician in America.” She uses various statements he made during church services, including some in which he criticized the police. And she wrote an open letter last week in which Warnock was accused of being anti-Semitic, a claim that some Jewish leaders in Georgia rejected.
In particular, many of the attacks on Warnock have been criticized for invoking racial stereotypes in a state with a long history of oppression of black residents. A coalition of black ministers defended Warnock, arguing that Loeffler’s attacks amounted to criticism of the Black Church. a charge she denies. Warnock agrees with the ministers and tweets that Loeffler’s attacks “is hurtful to black churches. He further told Yahoo News that he was not worried about the jabs.
“While Sen Loeffler is calling my names, let me tell you where I stand,” he said. “I believe that people in the largest country in the world should have affordable health care, that Georgians who work hard every day earn a living wage, and that the elderly should be able to afford the cost of prescription drugs. Kelly Loeffler might think this is radical. I think it’s common sense. ”
Warnock and the Democrats launched their own sharp attacks on Loeffler, accusing her of ‘dumping shares’ after a Senate coronation virus briefing in January, when the pandemic was in its infancy. Loeffler denies any wrongdoing and said the stock trading was done independently of any input from her.
She also found herself in hot water after posing for a photo with Chester Doles, a longtime white supremist, with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazi National Alliance. While Loeffler said she did not know who Doles was, the Warnock campaign pushed back, noting that Doles was kicked out of a campaign event in September. Yahoo News is reaching out to Loeffler’s campaign for comment, but has not yet received a response.
Warnock also finds himself in a small firestorm when the recordings of police interviews last week emerged from an incident in March in which his ex-wife accused him of driving a car over her foot. Warnock denied driving over her foot and was never charged. Loeffler calls the allegations ‘deeply disturbing’; Warnock’s campaign says Loeffler had a new low point in attacking his family. ‘
The list of strokes between the two campaigns goes on and on, reflecting both the interests and the potential competitiveness of the races. Run-off elections are difficult to gauge and predict, but a recent poll by Insider Advantage and Fox 5 Atlanta found that Warnock Loeffler suggested 49 to 47 percent. Although Biden beat Trump in Georgia, Republican boosts in the run-up may have reasons to be optimistic, given the party’s surprising strength in the November congressional games and the historic Peach State GOP.
The tens of thousands of millions of dollars continue to flow into the coffers of the campaigns.
Warnock reported total revenues of more than $ 103 million between October 15 and December 16, which could easily beat Loeffler’s total of nearly $ 64 million. Both sides have more than enough resources to fill the air.
And while there are two Democrats going on, Warnock has drawn the heaviest attacks as the lesser-known of the two. The other Democrat is Jon Ossoff, who broke national fundraising records in a special election for the U.S. House in 2017, and is now trying to oust Republican Senator David Perdue.
An unlikely result of the run-off was the camaraderie between Ossoff, a young former Jewish congressman from Atlanta, and Warnock, a middle-aged Black Baptist pastor from Savannah. Although the two Democrats are running separate races, it almost feels like the duo are running teammates to join forces to take down their Republican opponents.
“I’m very honored to run with my friend Jon Ossoff,” Warnock told Yahoo News. “We both focus on our own races, but what matters is the people of Georgia.”
Warnock also said he believes Georgians do not think as much about the attacks that dominate the airwaves, just as the financial and security challenges their families face this year.
“I do not think the Georgian people wake up in the morning wondering about Jon Ossoff or Raphael Warnock,” he said. “They wonder if their families will stay healthy, if they can pay the bills, how they will put food on the table.”
Below are the most important dates for Georgians to remember before the Senate by-elections on January 5, 2021:
(Cover thumbnail photo by Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images)
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