On the Georgia Trail: Warnock, Walker rally voters with runoff eve events

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are taking new steps to energize their supporters on the eve of the runoff for the last election battle of 2022.

Walker held a series of events on Monday across Atlanta’s suburbs and North Georgia — crucial GOP territory where he lagged behind Gov. Brian Kemp in November. He swung by a diner in Flowery Branch early Monday where backers gave him an ovation.

Former President Donald Trump held a virtual event Monday evening to mobilize the GOP base. And the Republican ended the night at the same place where he held his final event before the midterm with a rally at the Governor’s Gun Club in Kennesaw.

“The best thing I’ve ever done, including the Heisman Trophy, and the Horatio Alger award, the best thing I’ve ever done is run for office right here,” he told a modest crowd.

Warnock is focused on motivating the Democratic base, starting with a get-out-the-vote event with union organizers in Atlanta, a rally for students at Georgia Tech, a stop with the rapper Killer Mike and a final send-off in Atlanta.

Election officials are readying for turnout on Tuesday that could far surpass 1 million voters, adding to the more than 1.8 million Georgians who have already cast their ballots.

“We’re preparing for it to be a close race that could go deep into the night,” said Gabriel Sterling of the secretary of state’s office. “We have to plan for every eventuality.”

Warnock to union organizers: ‘I have Herschel Walker now right where I want him’

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock started his day with an appeal to union members at a metro Atlanta UPS hub, where he credited organized labor as the foundation of the “strength of our economy and the strength of our country.”

“You can’t say you believe in the dignity of work and not support the dignity of workers,” the Democrat said at the event with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Through its political action committee, the union has about 40 peoplecontacting Teamsters in Georgia to canvass for Warnock, said Chuck Stiles, vice president of Local 728.

Warnock strengthened his support from the Teamsters by backing legislation last year to fund assistance for struggling multiemployer pension funds, including the Teamsters pension.

”I have Herschel Walker now right where I want him because this race is about me and him — who’s qualified to represent the 11 million people of Georgia for the next six years,” Warnock said.

Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks to the media during a campaign rally at the UPS Smart Hub facility in Atlanta on Monday, December 5, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

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Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

With youngest members of Congress, Warnock continues to rally young voters

Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and Florida U.S. Rep.-elect Maxwell Frost joined Warnock as he returned to Georgia Tech on Monday in a continued push to turn out students.

Frost rose in stature with his victory in November to become the first member of Generation Z, the youngest group of voters, to be elected to Congress.

“We know that our generation, it’s empathy, but it’s also love. It’s loving the oppressed more than we hate the oppressor,” Frost told around 100 students. “And that’s why you have to reelect Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock because we’re in a moment right now where there’s so much division in this country,”

Ossoff alluded to his position as the youngest U.S. senator, saying to Frost: “Congressman-elect we welcome the reinforcements. It is important that we have more young voices in the U.S. Congress.” He pointed to Warnock’s record and said that Warnock’s opponent, Republican Herschel Walker, was “not serious.”

Warnock, meanwhile, praised young people for their support and encouraged them to push others to vote. He’s pushed heavily in the last days of his campaign to turn young people out by holding multiple events at universities across the state.

“They said you wouldn’t show up. But you’re showing up, and it’s making a huge difference,” he said.

Walker holds a brief media availability after Dawsonville rally

After a campaign stop in Dawsonville on Monday, Republican Herschel Walker briefly addressed the media that gathered to cover his event.

He said he is feeling “pretty good about tomorrow,” according to video recorded by ABC News’ Lalee Ibssa. “You know, I think a vote for Warnock is a vote for these failed policies, a vote for me is a better coming.”

When the reporters attempted to follow up with more questions, such as about a tax exemption for Texas residents he continues to collect, Walker was escorted away.

The total exchange was less than 60 seconds.