With 97 per cent of the expected vote counted and Warnock commanding a lead of 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent, Edison projected that Warnock had won re-election.
Warnock’s victory cements Georgia as a battleground state certain to play a prominent role in the 2024 presidential election. Democrats have now won three Senate races in the past two years in the former Republican stronghold and Democratic President Joe Biden carried the state in 2020.
Walker’s defeat is also a setback for Donald Trump as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for the White House again in 2024. The former president endorsed Walker and dozens of other high-profile Republicans in this year’s midterm elections, but he ends with a mixed record in his most competitive contests.
Several hundred Warnock supporters gathered in an Atlanta ballroom erupted in applause when US television networks called the race.
Many began dancing, some held their drinks in the air, and others took selfies to memorialize the moment. The group, a mix of young people, political activists, and wealthy professionals and donors, reflected the coalition of voters that Warnock drew on to win the contest.
Walker’s campaign was plagued by repeated gaffes and claims by former girlfriends that he paid for their abortions, even though he has campaigned for the procedure to be outlawed. He has denied the accusations.
Warnock highlighted those concerns in campaign appearances and a barrage of television ads that made the race the most expensive of the 2022 midterm season, with more than US$400 million spent.
The contest went to a runoff after neither candidate secured 50 per cent of the vote on Nov 8.