Obama travels to the GA as Warnock seeks a significant early voting advantage.

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Obama travels to the GA as Warnock seeks a significant early voting advantage. More than 1 million ballots have been cast in Georgia ahead of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican opponent Herschel Walker. Warnock is hoping to capitalize on an apparent Democratic advantage in early voting by hosting Barack Obama on Thursday.

On the eve of the last day of early voting, Warnock will campaign alongside the former president. The rally, which is anticipated to be the biggest event of Warnock’s four-week runoff blitz, highlights the divergent strategies adopted by the two parties for early voting in the decisive 2022 election.

Republicans, particularly Walker, have taken a less aggressive approach that could leave the GOP nominee heavily dependent on runoff election day turnout. Democrats have used an all-hands-on-deck push to the bank as many votes as possible.

Warnock compared voting to standing in line at a well-liked Atlanta lunch spot as he campaigned this week, saying, “I think the turnout we’re seeing is good, and I want to encourage people to stick with it.” “The line was wrapped around the block when I went to the Slutty Vegan the other day, and people still waited and got their sandwiches,” he recalled. “I voted yesterday, and it wasn’t too painful,”

Walker is anticipated to cast a ballot on the runoff election day.

Out of nearly 4 million votes cast in the general election, Warnock was ahead of Walker by about 37,000 votes but fell short of the majority required by Georgia law. As a result, there was a four-week runoff blitz with a smaller window for early voting than there was for the first round.

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The most heavily Democratic counties and congressional districts have higher overall turnout, according to statewide early voting data, which also includes some weekend and Thanksgiving weekdays in some counties. However, as they compete for any advantage in the decisive contest of the 2022 midterm election cycle, both parties are finding data to highlight. In general, both campaigns agree that Warnock will lead among early voters, as he did in the first round, while Walker will have the advantage in ballots cast on Election Day.

Democrats now have a 14 percentage point lead over Republicans with six days left before the Nov. 8 election, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm that examined the identities of the 830,000+ voters who had cast ballots by the end of Tuesday. The more than 240,000 extra votes cast on Wednesday were not taken into account in that analysis.

Scott Paradise, the campaign manager for Walker, disputed claims of Democratic hegemony. He claimed that the only reason they had an advantage was that more Republican areas waited until the statewide mandatory early voting period, which started on Monday, while heavily Democratic metro-area counties held weekend early voting. Republicans attempted to stop Saturday early voting for the runoff by filing a lawsuit in state court, but they were unsuccessful.

According to Paradise, a Walker campaign analysis revealed that Walker won a combined 70% of the vote in nine out of the ten counties with the highest turnout on Election Day. He also noted that two Republican strongholds, Hall and Forsyth, had the highest turnout rates in the state’s most populous counties—those with more than 100,000 registered voters. According to Paradise, these patterns show that Republicans are very enthusiastic.

Republicans still have some catching up to do.

Four of the state’s five congressional districts controlled by Democrats had already experienced an advance turnout of at least 43% of the total early vote for the November election through Tuesday, according to state voting data compiled by Ryan Anderson, an independent analyst in Atlanta.

On January 5, 2021, as part of concurrent Senate runoffs, Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents to give Democrats a slim majority in the Senate to begin President Joe Biden’s term. After winning a special election, Warnock is now running for a full six-year term.

This time, Senate control is not at stake because Democrats have already won 50 seats and have the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. Even though the stakes are lower on a national level, this puts pressure on Warnock’s and Walker’s campaigns to persuade Georgia voters that it’s worthwhile to cast a second ballot.

When compared to Walker, Warnock received about 58% of his total first-round votes from early voting. This resulted in a vote advantage for Warnock of over 256,000. Walker responded with a lead of more than 200,000 on election day.

Early voting has been targeted by the senator’s campaign, Democratic Party committees, and affiliated political action committees. Republicans have responded with their own comprehensive campaign, which includes a direct mail campaign featuring Gov. Brian Kemp, who easily won a second term after receiving 200,000 more votes than Walker.

However, Republicans are fighting internal party narratives, including one from the late President Donald Trump, that cast doubt on some early voting, particularly mail-in ballots, and encourage some Republicans to cast their votes on Election Day. Trump stated on social media just last Tuesday that “YOU CAN NEVER HAVE FAIR & FREE ELECTIONS WITH MAIL-IN BALLOTS – NEVER, NEVER NEVER.” WILL NOT AND CAN NOT TAKE PLACE!

Walker himself makes no mention of mail-in ballots or early in-person voting while urging his supporters to cast a ballot.

In contrast, Democrats view Obama as a crucial player in replicating Warnock’s lead in early voting due to the former president’s continued popularity among core Democrats and his strong support among independents.