Campaign Report — Georgia voters break records ahead of runoff
Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, tracking all things related to the 2022 midterm elections. You can expect this newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as we make sense of this year’s elections and look ahead to 2024.
Early voting soars in Georgia with one week to go
Voters are coming out en masse to vote early ahead of Georgia’s Dec. 6 Senate runoff.
Early voting locations are open in all of Georgia’s 159 counties, and according to the state’s election officials, as of Sunday over 181,000 Georgians have cast their ballots early, including over 166,000 people in person.
Total numbers were not available as of Monday but Georgia election officials said the turnout they have seen so far is record-shattering.
“As of 2pm we have had 165,784 Georgians cast their early votes. This could be the biggest early voting day ever in Georgia election history,” Georgia’s interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling said in a tweet on Monday.
Additionally, Sterling said that turnout on Sunday was 130 percent higher at 86,937 than the previous Sunday record turnout of 37,785 that was set in October of 2020.
Between the lines: According to ABC News, Black Georgia voters are surpassing other demographic groups in early voting. The group had a total turnout of 46.3 percent as of Sunday, which is eight points ahead of total turnout from white voters so far.
The state’s younger voters are also turning out in large numbers as well. According to U.S. News and World Report, 18 to 24 year-old voters made up roughly a tenth of voters by Monday. The findings appear to be a continuation of the trend seen on Election Day, which saw Gen Z play a pivotal role in Democratic victories across the board.
Meanwhile on the campaign trail, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock was among those who voted early on Sunday in Fulton County, while his Republican challenger Herschel Walker made a campaign stop in Toccoa, Georgia on Monday.
And on Tuesday, Warnock’s campaign announced that former first lady Michelle Obama will be recording robocalls for the campaign urging voters to vote early. Additionally, voters who do not cast their ballot early will receive a recorded message on Election Day from Obama reminding them to vote for Warnock.
Polls show a tight race ahead of Tuesday’s election. A new survey from FrederickPolls, COMPETE Digital and AMMPolitical showed Warnock and Walker tied at 50 percent. But among Independents, Warnock leads Walker 52 percent to 48 percent.
Maricopa County and others certify election results
Out west in Arizona, Maricopa County supervisors voted unanimously to certify their election canvass despite Republican objections Monday.
The vote took place during a tension-filled meeting with various residents getting the chance to raise their concerns. The board had until Monday to vote to certify the canvass. Residents at times interrupted supervisors and some attendees were escorted out of the meeting.
“Let me be abundantly clear: There has never been a perfect election, and this was not a perfect election,” said Board Chairman Bill Gates (R). “There were issues, but we were transparent about that.”
Republicans, largely led by GOP gubernarotial candidate Kari Lake who lost her election to Democrat Katie Hobbs, have pointed to printer malfunctions in Maricopa County as a centerpiece in her challenge against the elections results.
The objections voiced by Lake also impacted other counties, notably Cochise County which refused to certify the 2022 election. However, the county is now facing a lawsuit after it voted to delay the certification of the election canvass.
The Hill’s Julia Mueller reports that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of a local voter and the Arizona Alliance of Retired Americans. The lawsuit hits the county’s Board of Supervisors for a “long, baseless effort to call into question the results of the 2022 general election and evade Arizona law” and argues the body doesn’t have the authority to hold up the election results.
RNC launches election postmortem
The Republican National Committee announced on Tuesday it is launching a Republican Party Advisory Council, which will study the GOP’s performance during this past election and will roll out a report with its finding during the first half of 2023.
“As we assess the midterms and plan for 2024, we are gathering a diverse range of respected leaders in our movement to join together and help chart a winning course in the years to come. I am thrilled that this talented group of Republicans will be shoulder to shoulder with us as we work to grow our party, hold Democrats accountable, and elect Republicans,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
The council’s members include Alabama Sen.-elect Katie Britt, former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters and Michigan Rep.-elect John James.