For Georgians, the 2022 U.S. Senate election delivers a case of déjà vu.
For the second time in two years, Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, is in a runoff against a high-profile Republican. Warnock faces Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 runoff, two years after besting then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff following the 2020 election.
A little more than 36,000 votes separated Warnock and Walker in the Nov. 8 general election. Warnock was the top vote getter but missed a majority - and an outright win - by 23,000 votes, resulting in the runoff.
Early voting began Saturday, Nov. 26 and continues through Dec. 2 ahead of the Dec. 6 election.
50-50 vs. 51-49: What's the difference if Warnock wins? If Walker wins?
Voter turnout is a key consideration for the runoff. The Democrats have already secured majority control of the U.S. Senate for the next two years. Exit polls on Nov. 8 revealed many Georgians were motivated to vote in the Senate race because of the ramifications on majority control of the chamber.
Here's what you need to know about the Senate race between Warnock and Walker.
What is the senator's role?
The U.S. Senate includes two elected senators from every state, regardless of population. Most actions by the U.S. Congress have to pass both the House and the Senate, but the Senate also has the sole authority to approve treaties and approve appointments of cabinet secretaries, federal judges, and ambassadors, among other positions.
Senators, like other federal officials, also offer constituent services to residents of the state. They can assist with a number of issues when residents are having difficulty receiving assistance from federal programs.
What happened in the primaries and general election?
The U.S. Senate general election race was the only statewide contest not won by a Republican. More than 18,000 voters did not log a choice for the U.S. Senate seat. Another 80,000 voted for a third-party candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver.
Under Georgia election law, races where the top vote getter falls short of a majority - 50% plus one vote - must be decided via runoff.
The general election drama followed a pair of lackluster party primaries.
Walker easily won the GOP primary against five other challengers with 68% of the vote. Agricultural commissioner Gary Black and former Navy Seal Latham Saddler came in second and third, but no one was close to the UGA star's popularity.
2022 U.S. Senate race: Warnock-Walker clash puts Georgia elections in national spotlight
On the Democratic side, Warnock received 96% of the vote in a race against Tamara Johnson-Shealey.
What do you need to know about Raphael Warnock?
Warnock was born in Savannah in 1969, and he graduated from Sol C. Johnson High School in Savannah in 1987 before attending Morehouse College and later Union Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity, Master of Philosophy and PhD. He is involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife over their children and child support payments.
In 2005 Warnock became the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the same church that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his father pastored. He had not held elected office before winning his Senate seat in 2021.
In his year-plus in the Senate he has focused on health care and economic issues, and has been an outspoken supporter of abortion access and voting rights among other priorities.
He introduced legislation to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for anyone with insurance and got the bill included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Part of the law was rejected, but the provision keeping monthly insulin costs for those on Medicare at $35 became law.
What do you need to know about Herschel Walker?
Walker played football for the University of Georgia and was part of the team that won the 1980 national championship. After playing for the Bulldogs, Walker spent 15 years in the National Football League. He also went to the 1992 Winter Olympics in bobsledding and has been involved in a number of business dealings, many of which are mired in controversy.
Walker has never held elected office before. He has faced national scrutiny over a number of false claims, including allegedly lying to his own campaign when it was revealed he had three additional children.
Walker has mostly run more on his personality than his policies, but he has focused on economic issues - lowering taxes, gas prices and reducing government regulation. He is also opposed to abortion and has expressed strong support for law enforcement.
Following the 2022 campaigns
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Georgia Senate race: Candidates Warnock, Walker face off in runoff