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Warnock campaigns in Newton, says election about "character" and "competence"
Walker campaign says Warnock's "character" claims makes him "just another hypocritical Washington politician"
Raphael Warnock
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks to a crowd of supporters last week during a campaign stop in west Newton County. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., brought his campaign to western Newton County last week and asked voters to return to the polls one more time during Advance Voting this week and on Election Day Dec. 6.

Warnock is facing a difficult reelection campaign against UGA football legend Herschel Walker, a Republican, in the runoff after neither received more than 50% of the vote in the Nov. 8 General Election.

The senator told supporters at the E&E Event Center on Salem Road told supporters he knew they were weary of voting after a year of high-profile elections statewide but they needed to return one more time to turn back the challenge from Walker.

Warnock said the election is about who can best do the job as one of Georgia's two U.S. senators.

"This is about competence. This is about character," Warnock said. 

"How are you gonna apply for a job and never tell us what you're going to do if you got the job? Have you noticed? He has not one policy prescription, no agenda. That's why he's lying on me because he doesn't have an agenda."

"This job is worthy of a serious person. You can't just put anybody in a Senate seat."

Local, state and congressional leaders helped open the event before Warnock spoke. Among those speaking and encouraging voters to return to the polls were U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Stonecrest; District 43 State Sen. Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia; District 2 County Commissioner Demond Mason; and Newton County Board of Elections member Kelly Robinson.

Warnock said Walker had been a great running back and Heisman Trophy winner for UGA’s football team.

“He was a great running back and we’re gonna send him ‘running back’ to Texas where he actually lives,” Warnock said.

Walker lived in Texas for years before returning to Georgia to seek the Senate seat. Walker has claimed his Texas home as his primary residence on income tax returns — potentially breaking both Texas tax laws and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office, CNN reported.

This year, with Warnock vying for a full six-year term after winning the 2021 special election, Democrats have already guaranteed control of the Senate by flipping a seat in Pennsylvania. A Warnock win would give Democrats an outright majority at 51-49, meaning that the parties would not have to negotiate a power-sharing agreement, according to The Associated Press.

Warnock said in the Newton County campaign stop that Walker has repeated falsehoods and exaggerations. 

“He's really good at imagining things," Warnock said. "He said he was a police officer. He’s not. He said he worked for the FBI. He did not. Said he graduated from the University of Georgia. He did not. Said he was valedictorian of his class. He was not. He said he had another business with 800 employees. It has eight.”

Warnock said he passed a new federal legal provision capping insulin costs for Medicare recipients. He said Walker said diabetics could manage their health by “eating right,” which is not sufficient for insulin-dependent diabetic patients.

“Maybe he ought to apply to be a dietician. I’m running for the United States Senate,” Warnock said.

He said he planned to work to expand the federal child tax credit — among other initiatives — if he is reelected to a full six-year term.

"I'm not in love with politics — I'm in love with change," Warnock said. 

Walker, who is statically tied with Warnock in some polls, has taken his attacks to Warnock’s strengths as the pastor of the famous church where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, according to The Associated Press. 

"Raphael Warnock is just another hypocritical Washington politician," Walker campaign spokesman Will Kiley said in a news release. "Warnock says character counts but refuses to take a look in the mirror."

Walker has criticized Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, over an Atlanta apartment building owned by a foundation of Warnock’s church where residents have complained to The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, of eviction notices and poor conditions, the AP reported.

“What he’s doing in this apartment building at Columbia Towers is not right,” Walker said recently at a suburban Atlanta campaign stop. “You shouldn’t put Jesus’ name on what you’re doing to people, and don’t put Martin Luther King name on it. ... You’re not Jesus, and you’re not Dr. King.”

Kiley said, "Raphael Warnock's tenants live among filth, mold, and rotting corpses while he takes thousands of dollars in a tax-free housing allowance. Georgians deserve better than Raphael Warnock's lies and lack of care for the people he is supposed to represent."

Warnock, who says no residents of Columbia Tower have been evicted, incorporates Walker’s attacks into the list of the challenger’s documented exaggerations and falsehoods. 

“What kind of a person lies on the church?” Warnock said in Macon. “This isn’t the first time people attacked Ebenezer Baptist Church. They attacked Martin Luther King Jr. I’m in good company.”