Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race
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 Loeffler (R) already holds, but since it’s a special election, he’s also competing with Rep. Doug Collins (R) and other Democratic candidates for the spot.
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.
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 Holder. 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 Kemp (R) appointed her to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) who retired at the end of 2019 because of health reasons.