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Poll shows Warnock leading in Georgia special Senate election

Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock leads the field for Georgia’s special Senate election in a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.

The poll found Warnock with 31 percent, ahead of Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerPoll shows deadlocked races for president, Senate seat in Georgia Schumer warns of COVID-19 danger posed by Pence on Senate floor Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 MORE (R) with 23 percent, 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) with 22 percent and Democratic candidate Matt Lieberman with 9 percent. It is the first major poll to show Warnock leading, as other surveys have had Collins or Loeffler ahead.

The poll comes as Lieberman has faced increased pressure to drop out from Democrats who fear a split vote will guarantee a GOP victory and possibly make the difference in which party controls the Senate.

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Both former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and former President Obama have endorsed Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. While Obama has not called for Lieberman to exit the race, Abrams specifically called for him to drop out last week.

“I think that Matt may be a good person, but he is not the right candidate. I think the best result for all is for Matt to step back and realize that Rev. Warnock is the right candidate for the state of Georgia,” Abrams told reporters. “We need Matt Lieberman to understand that he is not called to this moment.”

Lieberman has said he will not respond to the pressure, telling The Hill last week “Georgia’s citizens are well able to decide who their next senator is going to be. They don’t need a handful of people in Washington or Atlanta making the choice for them.”

If no candidate in the race wins a simple majority in November, the top two finishers are set to advance to a January runoff. Separately, Sen. David Perdue (R) is in a close race for reelection with Democrat Jon Ossoff. The Tuesday poll shows the two statistically tied, with Ossoff pulling 49 percent support and Perdue 48 percent.

Pollsters surveyed 1,125 likely Georgia voters from Sept. 23-27. It has a 2.9-point margin of error.