Nov 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Warnock's closing argument zeroes in on "character and competence"

Raphael Warnock speaks to reporters

Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks to journalists after casting his vote Sunday in Atlanta. Photo: Ben Gray/AP

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) offered this closing argument against his Republican rival in a news conference Monday as both sides begin a final week of campaigning ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff: "If you think you're tired now, imagine having Herschel Walker represent you for six years."

Why it matters: As he works to target Republican crossover voters and GOP-leaning independents, Warnock is highlighting not just Walker's personal and campaign trail controversies, but also moments that portray his opponent as nonsensical, superficial or unqualified.

Zoom in: One of Warnock's final ads features a split screen in which voters react to videos of Walker going off-script on the stump.

What they're saying: "I know that there are partisan differences, and they are real, but when you consider my opponent, this is not about Democrat and Republican," Warnock said Monday. "This is about right and wrong. And Herschel Walker is wrong for Georgia."

  • Sarafina Chitika, a spokesperson for the Warnock campaign, said the runoff "is about these two people on the ballot and who's fit to represent Georgia."
  • This strategy is "drastically different" from his last runoff, said 2021 runoffs senior advisor Jeremy Halbert-Harris. Warnock hardly mentioned his opponent then. Now, “It's an ‘in his own words’ series,” he told Axios.

By the numbers: Warnock recently reported three times the campaign cash on hand as Walker to get his message across, at nearly $30 million to Walker's nearly $10 million.

The other side: Walker and Republicans have continued to try to make the race about Warnock’s ties to President Biden, whose favorability sits at 40% in Georgia.

  • Walker's campaign also is trying to elevate critical stories by the conservative news outlet Free Beacon about attempted evictions at a public housing complex that is mostly owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where Warnock is pastor.

What's next: Axios Atlanta will report on Walker's closing message this week.

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