the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Chip Genung ‘25
While the Midterms have officially been over for over a month, a viciously contested Senate run-off election still rages in Georgia. Unlike in many states where whichever senate candidate with the most votes wins, in Georgia, during a senate race, a candidate must reach over 50% of the vote to win. In the recent election last month between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Hershel Walker, neither candidate attained this minimum, with Warnock achieving 49.4% of the vote and Walker receiving 48.5% of the vote. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver won just over 2%, or about 80,000 votes, which caused neither of the major party candidates to win a majority.
In a run-off election, the top two candidates from the previous election move on to the second round of voting. By the time this article is published the run-off election will have already happened. The winner would have needed to secure those 80,000 votes previously won by Oliver. Oliver himself has said the Libertarians that voted for him came from both the left and the right, so it is difficult to tell which of the two final candidates they will end up supporting. Oliver has advocated for traditionally Republican issues like protecting the Second Amendment and small government but also supported traditionally Democratic issues such as the right to an abortion. The fact is that these 80,000 votes will determine which party wins the Georgian seat in the Senate and therefore play a huge role in American Politics.
If Warnock wins, the Democrats will have a clear majority in the Senate and will be able to pass legislation without the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President. If Walker wins, the Democrats will still hold a majority due to Vice President Harris. But, without a technical majority, the Republicans could block much more legislation and stonewall the Democrats from carrying out much of their agenda for years to come. This problem for the Democrats is exacerbated by the fact that there are some moderate Senate Democrats, like West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin, who frequently back Republican bills over Democratic ones. Ultimately these 80,000 votes will dramatically impact the rest of President Joe Biden's time in office and perhaps shape American policy for many years to come.