‘Guess who’s coming to Thanksgiving’: Raphael Warnock warns of runoff possibility

Want to avoid a visit from Raphael Warnock at Thanksgiving dinner? Better vote.

That’s the tongue-in-cheek message from the U.S. Senator from Georgia as he enters the final days of campaigning for re-election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. 

In an endearing 30-second spot, Warnock reminds voters that if a candidate fails to get more than 50% of the vote in next Tuesday’s election, there will be a runoff, and that means more campaigning, even on Thanksgiving. 

The ad shows a dressed down, but still dapper Warnock showing up at a family Thanksgiving celebration, casserole in hand. The family is surprised, but genuinely pleased, to see Warnock.

As the group shouts in shock in awe at his arrival, Warnock opens, “that’s right, I could be interrupting your Thanksgiving,” before describing the runoff rule. 

“Nobody wants that to happen,” he says.

“Early voting has already begun and there’s no reason to wait until Election Day.”

He ends the message on a common Thanksgiving trope. 

“We don’t have to mix politics at thanksgiving. That’s why I approved this message,” he says, sitting in front of a well-stocked plate of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

On a particularly cute note, the ad ends with a sweet elderly woman affectionately patting Warnock’s shoulder.

“Now can you pass the sweet potatoes, please?”

Warnock’s runoff warning could become reality. He’s polling neck and neck against Walker, with a Libertarian candidate on the ballot who could syphon enough votes to keep either the Republican or Democrat from reaching 50% on Election Day. 

Real Clear Politics’ national average of polls puts Republican Walker 1.4 points ahead of Warnock, an improvement since the two squared off in a debate earlier this month when Warnock had been consistently holding onto a tight lead. That national average shows neither candidate reaching the 50% threshold, with Walker at 47.4% and Warnock at 46%.

For Democrats, those numbers may be frustrating. 

Warnock was widely seen as the better performing candidate in the October debate, with Walker facing criticism for brandishing an honorary badge to defend his statements about serving as a law enforcement officer, which he hasn’t. 

Further, the Republican has faced a flurry of scandalous news reports in recent weeks stemming from allegations that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, despite being vehemently anti-abortion. A second woman has since come forward claiming she too had a Walker-funded abortion.

Evidence has mounted in the first allegation, including copies of a check from Walker and a receipt from the abortion clinic, as well as a get well card signed by “H.”

Yet despite the controversy, Walker has actually gained in the polls, from a 3 percentage point deficit in a New York Times/Siena poll taken October 24-27 to a now slight advantage. 

Warnock’s latest ad comes as voter turnout exceeded 19% as of October 28, according to the most recent L2 voter data. Of the more than 1.3 million Georgia voters who have already cast a ballot, the race still looks tight, with more than 650,000 Democrats voting early or absentee to nearly 622,000 Republicans. Another nearly 85,000 non-partisan voters have also cast a ballot. 

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