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GOP Must Cut Infighting or Lose Winnable Georgia Seat

AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman


There is one place where the 2022 midterm elections are not yet over. That is the state of Georgia, where Republican Herschel Walker will face off against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock on Tuesday, December 6th in a runoff. With Senate control not on the line and much of the media having moved on to their new favorite story of “Republicans in disarray,” the election has received far less attention than might be expected.

While the January 2021 Georgia runoffs decided control of the Senate, and the runoffs this year will only decide whether Democrats hold 50 or 51 seats, the contest is still critically important. Under Senate rules, while Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote gives Democrats a voting majority in a 50-50 Senate, the Vice President is by definition not a member of the Senate and cannot sit on committees.

That means that when the Senate is split 50-50, so too are Committees. This is one reason many of Joe Biden’s nominations have moved so slowly. In order to move out of committee and onto the floor, nominees and legislation either need at least one Republican to vote in favor or abstain. The only alternative has been for Chuck Schumer to force a floor vote, using the Vice President, which requires every single Democratic senator to be present each time. While Schumer has been willing to do this for a few high-profile items, it is impractical for most nominations or legislation.

A 51-seat Democratic majority would allow Democrats to stack the Senate Judiciary Committee, rapidly expediting the process of judicial nominees reaching the Senate floor. Biden is already outpacing former President Trump’s rate of judicial confirmations, something which should deeply concern conservatives.

A 51-seat majority would also reduce the Democratic dependence on Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona. In the last Senate, Democrats required the support of both Senators to pass legislation. If Warnock wins reelection, Democrats would only need one of them. If this were not dangerous enough, both are up for reelection in 2024, with Sinema fearing a primary. It is hard to see her isolating herself when faced with that challenge, suggesting that she might be more willing to go with the rest of the party than she has been the past two years.

Finally, winning 51 seats would make Democrats’ difficult task of holding the Senate in 2024 slightly easier. The 2024 Senate map is brutal for Democrats, who have few viable opportunities for gains and are defending incumbents in Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia. Securing the Georgia seat until 2028 would mean they could hold the Senate by winning two of those three seats, rather than needing to hold all three. Still very hard, but much more doable.

Very little of this has been communicated to voters. Some of that is understandable; Senate control is easy to explain, while the different procedural elements of a 50 or 51 seat majority are much more complex. But matters have not been helped by infighting between different national Republican groups following the midterm results. The Senate Leadership Fund, headed by former staffers of Mitch McConnell, has partnered with Governor Brian Kemp’s get-out-the-vote operation to run a campaign separate from that of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by recent McConnell rival Rick Scott of Florida.

There have also been divisions over surrogates. While some national Republican figures, including Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, have campaigned with Walker, the effort has largely been left to Governor Kemp and state GOP figures. The explanation is again national politics. With the party divided between critics of former President Trump and his supporters, inviting any potential 2024 candidate to campaign for Walker would offend all others. The result is that rather than both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis being able to campaign for Walker, neither is expected to stump for him, instead planning speeches delivered remotely. Even Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who campaigned for Walker in September, may not return, lest it be confused with a presidential campaign stop. The divisions over the 2024 presidential race have therefore crippled the ability of any prominent figure from any faction to campaign for Walker.

Democrats have not suffered from these problems. Both Barack and Michelle Obama plan to hold rallies for Warnock, while Michelle has also cut an ad for the Democrat. Biden, who campaigned for Warnock in December of 2020, has kept away this time, leaving it to the Obamas. But with senior GOP figures paralyzed, Republicans are outgunned.

The same is true of spending. As of a week before the run-off, Democrats had outspent Republicans more than 2-1, $36.5 million to $15.3 million, indicating GOP donors are as paralyzed by the impending 2024 race as are GOP leaders.

Despite these drawbacks, the contest remains close. The two most recent polls, one by Philips Andover Academy, and the other by Frederick Polls, have Walker leading by one and the race tied, respectively. Both find Libertarian voters splitting overwhelmingly for Walker, and reduced Democratic margins among persuadable voters. Both, however, also projected older and whiter electorates than November. By contrast, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s poll a week earlier had Warnock leading by 4 with a sample with similar demographics to November.

Projecting the makeup of the electorate ahead of time is difficult. It is somewhat easier in Georgia, where as much as 70% of the vote is often cast early. While early voting for the runoff this year is restricted to a single week, already it is breaking single day records, with 310,688 votes cast on Wednesday, November 30th alone. In total, some 1,144,158 votes had been cast, of which 54% were listed as white, 33.3% as African American, and 9.4% as other. 56% were female, while 44% were male. 6.8% were between the ages of 18-29, 7.2% 30-39, 11% 40-49, 31.9% 50-64, and 42.9% 65+. Each day, the electorate has become whiter and older, with the African American percentage falling from 46% on Sunday night to 40% Monday night, 35.2% on Tuesday night, and finally 33.3% at the close of voting Wednesday.

Compared to the final figures for November, the African American figure is still well above the 29.2% they made up at the end of early voting last month. While we will have a better idea of where we stand on Friday night, the last day of early voting, indications are an electorate which may not be substantially whiter, but will be substantially older than in November. As Walker performed much better with older voters, this suggests that the polls showing a close race are likely correct, perhaps with a 1% or so edge to Warnock, understandable given the vastly greater resources he enjoys.

The disparity in organization is probably the greatest explanation for why the GOP is having so much trouble in Georgia.

GOP sources have stressed that rather than focusing on “turnout,” they are instead working on “persuasion,” in other words trying to convince voters who cast ballots for Kemp in November but not for Walker, or even for Warnock, to change their minds.

The best interpretation of this strategy is that it may be “something.” But in practice, it is hard to see many November Warnock voters switching to Walker when the “stakes” are seen as even lower. In reality, it seems bragging to the media about the focus on persuasion is an excuse for not undertaking the much more expensive and difficult work of organizing voters and bringing them to the polls. “Persuasion” can be done by commissioning ads and giving interviews to the media. Organizing would require actually traveling to Georgia and going door to door. Instead, there seems to be an effort to make up for that with negative ads attacking Warnock on issues such as women’s sports, where his position has long been known. While Walker is likely on the right side of the issue, the decision to make it his closing message reeks of Washington consultants who do not want to do get their hands dirty on the ground. 

Democrats’ success with “turnout” is not merely a matter of moral fortitude. It is also a consequence of money and organization, especially with a week-long Election Day. It is hardly surprising that if Democrats are outspending Republicans more than 2-1, they are able to get more of their voters to the polls early.

The GOP will have plenty of time for infighting later. In the meantime, they would be well-advised to put a hold on their sniping and focus on holding a Senate seat. If Warnock wins, he will have it for six years. The race is far from lost according to polls. If the GOP is losing, it is in large part because segments of the party have decided they aren’t interested in winning.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.  

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5 months ago


5 months ago

Too bad your message is ignored. Now that Biden has laid the knockout punch to the Repubs by
winning the GA senate race, the time for talk with no action is over. Who knows what the
Repub leadership has learned over the past 30 days. Possibilities: 1. nothing (very likely) 2.
Trump is the only leader the party has 3. They are too lazy to care (20% probability)
4.They will accomplish nothing next year (almost guaranteed). Gee, I wish there was a party
I could get behind but it won’t be this group of no-bodies

5 months ago

The dims will run the Senate even if Walker wins. This vote means nothing

5 months ago

Why anyone would want to elect an obvious imbecile to an august seat in the US Senate is beyond me. Walker is not fit to serve in the Senate. Vampires v. werewolves??? What nonsense on the campaign trail.

Joe Blow
5 months ago
Reply to  NorthEastern

And yet, in Pennsylvania they elected Fetterman…

Dan W.
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Maybe if we selected someone who actually lived in Pennsylvania (or in Walker’s case, someone who actually lived in Georgia)….

Two golden opportunities to retake the Senate.

Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.

me myself
5 months ago

” The result is that rather than both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis being able to campaign for Walker,” In reality, Trump is not campaigning because if he did so it would guarantee Walker would loose. DeSantis is not campaigning because he’s afraid walker will loose anyways and being associated with that loss will cost him political capital. The resasons the author of this piece gave are deliberate and intentional lies.

ExGOP Texas
5 months ago

Even the GOP realizes that herschel walker has no qualifications to be in the Senate, that he cannot be allowed to vote in that body. The GOP has abandoned integrity in a quest to keep the trailer park crowd happy.

5 months ago
Reply to  ExGOP Texas

And Warnock is qualified? A race-baiting, woman beating, community activist who votes with Brandon 97% of the time? Neither Warnock, nor any of the Communist Dems in government are qualified. Walker isn’t the most eloquent person in the world and he has baggage, but he’s running in a spot against the evils of the Communists so this should be a no-brainer for any citizen. The fact that the GOP establishment leveled criticism of Republican candidates before, during and after the mid-terms is frustrating and ignorant, shouldn’t stop voters with some sort of decency, integrity, principles and a smidgeon of wisdom from supporting Walker.

Dan W.
5 months ago
Reply to  Westhus

This should have been a runaway but we turned it into a horserace. Unfortunately, 2022 turned into a mirror of 2012 in the Senate. Sad.

me myself
5 months ago
Reply to  Westhus

The only one who has beaten a woman is walker who has admitted to sticking a gun in his wife’s mouth and threatening to blow her brains out. His own legitimate son has claimed he had to move 6 times in 6 months to avoid being murdered by Hershel. But yes, go ahead and vote for him and still claim character matters. No one has ever believed you in the past either.

5 months ago

Just in time for Sunday Service – Christian Georgia Vote Guides

Claudia Larson
5 months ago


Charles Ray
5 months ago

Walker is a clearly disturbed person. Republicans can’t continue to be so arrogant that they think ANYONE they nominate will easily beat a “librul”.

5 months ago

The reason the GOP is going to lost in Georgia is that the party selected a person who has no business being in the Senate. Even the GOP Lieutenant-Governor refused to vote for him.

Bob Acker
5 months ago

Get real. This is over.

Fed Up
5 months ago

Laudable reasonings. But when the elections are rigged (I mean, c’mon) the fine tuning of the fickle GOP is energy wasted. Good article though.

5 months ago

Herschel Walker is a good man. Is he perfect? Are any one of us? If the repubs fail to back him, this tells us a lot about the repub party (RNC). Just as the dems and “rock star” Obama support Warnock, this should tell us all that we need to know. Of course despite all of this, there is still the election fraud thing that the democrats have perfected to their advantage. Do we really have that many ignorant voters? Time will tell.

me myself
5 months ago
Reply to  Rich

A good man doesn’t have a child literally in fear for their lives because of his violent behavior.

A. E.
5 months ago

Here is an experiment that will make people think regarding the swing states election results.

To be clear this is just an opinion. I am not making any accusations or inferences.

Take the poll averages posted on “real clear politics” website on Nov. 6 and Nov.7 2022.
Compare with the election results of those states.
Check which of those states use dominion election machines.
Do the same for the 2020 elections.
Makes you think right?

Bob Acker
5 months ago
Reply to  A. E.

“But this time there really is a wolf,” the little boy said.

Let me give you a clue. No one is listening to this nonsense any more.

Robert Zuccaro
5 months ago

I’m really tired of these people… consider me an INDEPENDENT! Someones gonna have to buy my vote next election.

5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Zuccaro

That’s easy. Someone else’s money for your vote. D.

5 months ago

But will ‘they’ listen? Nah. That would involve effort, and no one wants to make that sacrifice.

5 months ago

With all the problems we have because of democrat leadership the repubs should have had no problem putting dems to shame in this last election. If they didn’t know already it should now be clear to the Repub Party that they have a major message problem.

Arthur Allegar
5 months ago
Reply to  NewDay

The Repubs have the main attribute for politicians , GREED , Inability to tell the truth , and the idiocy to think that all voters are stupid and don’t know what the politicians say vs. what they do !
These things are the reason that Marx and Engle devised the Communist Manifesto Q .

Amazing Grace
5 months ago

We better get used to this. Since cheating is ok, we will lose from now on.
I’m sickened by the Republicans and how they do nothing.
We are all in the same sinking boat.

ExGOP Texas
5 months ago
Reply to  Amazing Grace

It sounds like you have given up on the USA, we can help you pack and get to the border. We will not miss you.

5 months ago

BOTTOM LINE: This election runoff has already been decided. The Dems will get the seat through their usual cheating way.

me myself
5 months ago
Reply to  Max

The democrats will likely win on the basis that unlike the republican party, they haven’t given themselves over wholly to the service of satan.

5 months ago

Who releases all this early data on voters? Age, gender, white or African American should be private info on voters & not made public. Is this why some states make you designate a party to vote in Primary elections the last few years?

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