Raphael Warnock raises $3.3M on first day of runoff campaign

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock raised more than $3.3 million on the first day of the Georgia Senate runoff.

The money flowed into the Democrat’s campaign on Wednesday, after it became clear that neither he nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker would earn more than 50% of the vote — a requirement to win U.S. Senate elections in Georgia.

Walker has raised big as well, announcing about $4.3 million raised two days into the runoff. Warnock’s campaign didn’t provide an updated estimate, so which candidate has raised more in the early days of the race.

Warnock’s campaign fundraising is separate from the $7 million that the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm said it would pump into the race to support field operations. That is just an initial investment — both parties are expected to spend far more between now and the Dec. 6 election.

Georgia’s U.S. Senate election had already drawn hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of the General Election. According to FEC records, Warnock’s campaign had spent about $136 million through Oct. 19. Walker’s had spent about $32 million.

Parties and PACs chipped in millions more. According to NBC News, the Republican-aligned Senate Leadership PAC spent an estimated $38.8 million on Walker’s campaign between Labor Day and Election Day, while Democrat-aligned Georgia Honor put $30.2 million behind Warnock during the same stretch.

The Warnock vs. Walker race is advancing to a runoff after neither candidate secured a majority of the vote. The latest tally shows Warnock ahead by 0.9%, or about 35,000 votes, but a few tenths of a point short of a majority. Walker received 48.5% of the vote while Libertarian Chase Oliver received 2.1%.

Warnock and Walker will be the only candidates on the ballot in the Dec. 6 runoff election.

Notably, Warnock was elected to the U.S. Senate two years ago under similar circumstances. He was the top vote-getter in the 2020 special election for the U.S. Senate seat he currently holds, but he failed to get a majority of the vote on the crowded ballot. In the runoff, he defeated appointed incumbent Kelly Loeffler 51%-49%.

The Georgia race could potentially determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. In addition to Georgia, races are too close to call in Arizona and New Mexico. Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly currently leads by about 100,000 votes in Arizona with about 70% of the expected vote tabulated, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is trailing by 16,000 votes in Nevada with about 83% of the expected vote counted.

Since Democrats control the White House, they only need to control 50 seats to maintain their majority. Including only 2022 races that have been called or were not on the ballot this year, Democrats hold 48 seats while Republicans hold 49 seats, meaning either party would need to win two of the three remaining seats to have a majority.

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