Throughout the night the race between Walker (left) and Warnock continued to be tight. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

The ballroom emptied slowly and steadily. Some of the cameramen and television reporters left first. It was a quarter past midnight and the mood in the room, once super energetic and loud, was a bit less so. “I understand that at this late hour you may be a little tired,” Warnock said. “Whether it’s tonight, or tomorrow, or four weeks from now, we will hear from the good people of Georgia.”

On this night there would be no winner. It was the Georgia political version of a draw.

Warnock supporters filled a ballroom at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Tuesday night. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and political newcomer Herschel Walker, his Republican opponent, are headed to a runoff. The general election runoff will take place Tuesday, December 6. Similar to his first foray into the political arena in 2020, Warnock will have to prepare for a runoff and a mini-campaign with less than a month before voters -presumably less than the amount that turned out for this election- head back to the polls to decide who takes represents the state in the Senate alongside Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff.

Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) was in attendance Tuesday night. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

Warnock spent Tuesday morning and the early hours of Election Day with canvassers outside of Manuel’s Tavern and in the Atlanta University Center, a familiar setting for the Morehouse College alumnus. “We will do whatever we need to do to bring this home for Georgia, because failure is not an option,” Warnock said of the possibility of a run-off and the polls that had him and Walker in a dead heat. “The only poll that matters is the one we’re going to see today. Let’s see what the people of Georgia say.” 

In LaGrange last Friday, Walker, in one of his final public campaign appearances, said of his hopes for Election Day, “I’m going to tell all of you to vote for me and we’ll all get to the promised land together.”

Media from all around the country and the world were in attendance at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Tuesday night. Some remained in attendance well past 1:30 a.m. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

With the votes counted and the polls closed, there will be a runoff election between the Senator and politician. Early in the evening Warnock heard several early leads. An hour and a half after the polls closed at 7 p.mWarnock led by more than 130,000 votes. An hour later that lead struck to 3% or just over 100,000 votes. By 11:30 p.m. both Walker and Warnock were tied with 49% of the vote with just over 3,588,000 votes reported throughout the state.

A few minutes to midnight Warnock, introduced to the crowd by award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield, addressed his supporters. “Hello Georgia, I just wanted to drop by because I’m going back tonight,” Warnock said. “We’ve got more to say.” At the time of that abbreviated speech 89% of the precincts were accounted for and he and Walker were tied with 49% of the vote, according to both the Associated Press and New York Times. 

County breakdown

Both candidates said well in the counties that they were projected to do well in, and happened to campaign most often in. Walker dominated the rural southern counties like Berrien, Clinch, Glynn, Lowndes, Long, Thomas, Wayne and Ware. Southernmost counties where Georgia football is equally as powerful as Georgia politics. Warnock did manage to win his home county, Chatham, by 20%.

Warnock was much more successful closer to Atlanta. Democratic strongholds such as Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Henry counties made up the majority of votes for Warnock. 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...