On the eve of Georgia's runoff Election Day, Sabato's Crystal Ball shifted the battleground Senate race from Toss-up to Leans Democratic, pointing to early voting trends expected to benefit the Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.
"As we see it, with the Black share of the early vote up a few notches from what we saw ahead of November’s election, Walker starts out even deeper in the hole," the ratings report reads.
Herschel Walker, the Trump-endorsed Republican nominee, is running to unseat the Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.
The ratings change comes after early voting concluded last week in the Peach State, hitting a record-high for single-day early in-person turnout with 352,953 ballots cast on Friday, according to state elections data.
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The total early vote count is expected to reach 1.9 million votes, a top official at the Georgia Secretary of State's office said on Friday.
To offset positive indicators in the early vote, Walker "needs a big Election Day showing," according to the ratings report.
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However, Walker may also face setbacks from "one bigger-picture factor that is out of his control: With Democrats set to retain their Senate majority regardless of Georgia’s outcome, he may have a harder time rallying Republicans."
Democrats managed to maintain their slim Senate majority in the midterm elections; however, a win in Georgia tomorrow could significantly help the party hold on to Senate control in 2024 when they will be defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs next cycle.
The Senate race advanced to a runoff after neither candidate met the 50% vote threshold needed to declare victory in Georgia; Warnock and Walker received 49.4% and 48.5% of the vote in the general election, respectively.