U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) speaks during a campaign event on November 26, 2022 in Sandy Springs, Georgia. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Progressives Mobilize in Georgia for Dec. 6 Senate Runoff

Advocacy groups backing Sen. Raphael Warnock call the Democrat a "reproductive rights champion" who is also "fighting to stop the climate crisis and create good jobs in the process."

While more than 500,000 Georgians have already cast their ballots for a December 6 runoff, progressive leaders and groups are encouraging Peach State voters to help U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, defeat his GOP challenger, ex-football player Herschel Walker.

The tight race has implications for not only Georgia but the entire country; though Democrats lost their majority in the U.S. House earlier this month, Warnock winning reelection would give his party 51 Senate seats--allowing for control of the chamber without a power-sharing agreement and making it easier to confirm President Joe Biden's judicial nominees, including to the Supreme Court.

Climate and reproductive rights groups--from Friends of the Earth Action and the Sunrise Movement to NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund--have rallied behind the first-term senator, as have political leaders including Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

"Georgians, your rights are STILL on the ballot. Next year, you can have a senator who supports a TOTAL abortion ban. Or you can have reproductive rights champion [Warnock]," Planned Parenthood Action Fund tweeted Monday. "You know what to do. Reelect Sen. Warnock by December 6."

Sharing a report from Grist, Friends of the Earth Action pointed out that recently, "Walker told supporters at his rally that America isn't 'ready for the green agenda.'"

Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is planning a virtual phone bank for Wednesday. According to her team, "We'll talk to voters to make sure they have all the information they need to make their voices heard and keep Sen. Warnock in office!"

Walker has faced national criticism during his campaign for not only his right-wing views but also his admitted history of domestic violence; advocating anti-choice policies while allegedly previously pressuring multiple women to get abortions; and recently claiming permanent residency in Texas, where he used to play professional football, for a tax benefit.

Warnock--a reverend who serves as the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.--has also won support from fellow faith leaders. Over 30 of them came together Monday at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta.

Standing in front of a backdrop that read "100+ Clergy for Warnock," Pastor Darryl Winston reportedly declared that "we know he is a football hero, but we can't trust Herschel to carry Georgians across the goal line of progress for the betterment of the people without fumbling."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Rev. Timothy McDonald III encouraged voting for Warnock during a Saturday eulogy for a longtime friend and from his pulpit on Sunday.

"I said it would be an embarrassment if the state of Georgia elected Herschel Walker," he told the newspaper. "I encouraged them to vote and explained what happened last time, we voted early but we didn't show up to vote the day of. That's how we lost. People thought their vote wasn't needed. We're not going to make the same mistake twice."

The Georgia Poor People's Campaign has launched a statewide canvassing, text-banking, and social media campaign to reach out to low-income voters in support of the Democrat.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, who co-chairs the national Poor People's Campaign, spoke during a Sunday worship service at St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church in Columbus, Georgia, and "Moral Monday" rally in Atlanta, where he was joined by fellow co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis along with local speakers.

The ACLU of Georgia, When We All Vote, Georgia Working Families Power, Black Voters Matter Fund, and other groups have also announced nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts. According to organizers, "To build momentum and excitement and boost voter turnout, the 'On The Run-Off Tour' will include rallies across the state featuring free food, music, entertainment, and voter education."

After a legal battle determined by the Georgia Supreme Court, early voting kicked off Saturday. One Georgia official noted that as of 4:45 pm Monday, "we've seen 239,160 voters," a new record for early voting in the state for a single day.

Polling released Monday by FrederickPolls, COMPETE Digital, and AMM Political showed the candidates tied. According to the pollsters, "Independents favor Warnock by 52% to 48%, which is just enough to offset the +6-point Republican advantage in party identification with Republicans 95% for Walker and Democrats 99% for Warnock."

This post has been updated to correct the percentage of Republicans supporting Herschel Walker according to new polling.

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