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Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race

Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race
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Former President Obama on Friday endorsed the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democratic congressional candidate who's in a tight race in Georgia's special Senate election.

“I’m proud to endorse these outstanding Democratic candidates who will work to get the virus under control, rebuild the economy and the middle class, and protect Americans’ health care and preexisting conditions protections from Republican assault," Obama said in a statement.

Warnock is fighting for the seat that Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerBiden pushes into Trump territory Poll shows deadlocked races for president, Senate seat in Georgia Schumer warns of COVID-19 danger posed by Pence on Senate floor MORE (R) already holds, but since it's a special election, he's also competing with Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsHouse Judiciary Republicans mockingly tweet 'Happy Birthday' to Hillary Clinton after Barrett confirmation Poll shows deadlocked races for president, Senate seat in Georgia Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R) and other Democratic candidates for the spot.

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Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 3, and if no candidate secures 50 percent, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff election on Jan. 5. 

That creates a potential problem for Democrats, since it is possible Loeffler and Collins could be the top two finishers, meaning they'd advance to the runoff with no Democratic opposition. 

Warnock was part of the second wave of Democratic challengers that Obama has endorsed this election cycle.

“I am deeply honored to earn the support of President Obama in this movement," Warnock said in response. "With the Affordable Care Act under siege and our constitutional right to vote being threatened, Georgians and all Americans deserve leaders in Washington who are committed to doing the people’s business."

Once considered a long shot in the race, Warnock spent the summer surging through the polls.

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A July Monmouth poll showed the reverend at 9 percent, 11 points behind Collins and 17 points behind Loeffler.

However, a survey from the pollster this week showed Warnock at 21 percent, just a point behind Collins and two points behind Loeffler — both within the margin of error.

Warnock's surge began when Loeffler, a co-owner of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, received widespread flak for not supporting the league's show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Players on multiple teams, including the Dream, wore shirts that said "Vote Warnock."

It has been a fruitful week for Warnock, as he's also picked up endorsements from the Human Rights Campaign and former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderAlarm grows over Trump team's efforts to monitor polls The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on Trump: 'He'll leave' l GOP laywers brush off Trump's election remarks l Obama's endorsements Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race MORE. The reverend also has the support of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who earlier in the week called for the other Democrats in the race to drop out to consolidate support for Warnock.

Loeffler assumed the seat in January after Gov. Brian KempBrian KempOvernight Health Care: Georgia gets Trump approval for Medicaid work requirements, partial expansion | McConnell shoots down .8 trillion coronavirus deal Georgia gets Trump approval for Medicaid work requirements, partial expansion Meadows hosted wedding despite guidelines banning gatherings of more than 10 people: report MORE (R) appointed her to replace Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonQAnon-promoter Marjorie Taylor Greene endorses Kelly Loeffler in Georgia Senate bid Biden up by 7 points in Georgia: survey Loeffler tweets edited video showing Trump taking down coronavirus in wrestling match MORE (R) who retired at the end of 2019 because of health reasons.