Just as he’s preparing to rally for U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia on the eve of the final day of early voting for next week’s runoff election, former President Barack Obama appeared in a newly released ad supporting the incumbent Democrat.
Warnock faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker on Tuesday, in a race expected to be tight. Obama is rallying Georgia voters Thursday night for the second time in this race, in hopes that his still high favorability can boost turnout.
In the ad, Obama makes a plea to voters to “make your voice heard” in a race “we can’t afford” to get wrong.
“Serious times call for special leaders, leaders you can trust, leaders who are driven by something bigger than politics. That’s why you need to re-elect my friend and your Senator, Raphael Warnock,” Obama says in the minute-long ad.
It then gets personal.
“I’ve know Rev. Warnock for years. He’s a man of great moral integrity, a leader in the truest sense of the word,” the former President added. “In just two years in office, he’s worked to lower health care costs for seniors and bring good jobs to Georgia. And he’s been a clear voice in the fight to defend our democracy and protect the right to vote. There aren’t a lot of people in Washington like Rev. Warnock and that’s exactly why we need to send him back.”
Polls are all over the place in the race between Warnock and Walker, with some showing a dead tie, others showing a slim lead for Warnock and still others giving Walker a slight advantage. But there’s one consistency, all are within the margin of error, making Tuesday night’s outcome anyone’s guess.
Turnout among Black voters has lagged nationwide. Obama’s insertion into the campaign is expected to be a way to boost engagement among the important voting bloc, a bloc that Warnock consistently leads in polls, to ensure they turnout.
Turnout so far in the race sits at just under 16%, according to the most recent L2 voter data updated Thursday. Of those who have cast a ballot, nearly 53% have been Democrats, while just over 40% were Republicans. Another nearly 9% were non-partisan voters.
The GOP expects to make up that deficit on Election Day even as Democrats hope to widen the gap through Friday.