Georgia run-off election: LGBTQ+ voters could make all the difference in final Senate race
The run-off comes after neither incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock nor Republican Herschel Walker received 50 per cent of the vote in the 8 November election to represent Georgia in the upper chamber.
Warnock led with 49.4 per cent to Walker’s 48.5 per cent, while Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver won 2.1 per cent.
The plea for LGBTQ+ voters to continue to turn out comes after research by The Washington Post revealed queer voters have become a more important bloc in American elections than ever before – their decisive support for president Joe Biden in 2020 and heavy overlap with younger voters makes them a vital part of the modern Democratic coalition.
In a joint statement, GLAAD and Georgia Equality said they hoped LGBTQ+ voters would expand the pro-equality majority Biden had created by re-electing Warnock.
Jeff Graham, a spokesperson for Georgia Equality, said: “Voters across Georgia and the entire country rejected extremist candidates… handpicked by former president Trump, like Herschel Walker was. They voted ‘no’ on those looking to ban books, our marriages and the right to choose.
“Georgia voters must return to the polls to make history again. There are just days to make a plan to vote in the run-off. Every LGBTQ voter must act now to keep moving forward on freedoms they fought so hard to win.”
GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis added: “LGBTQ and ally voters must do everything they can to again turn out for equality, liberty and justice.
“Media must demand answers from candidates about LGBTQ issues that went mostly unmentioned in the general election campaign. Our communities and those who stand with us have the opportunity to determine the outcome of this race, but only if we show up.”
Wonderful to see the Equality Act pass the House and I hope we can see bipartisan support for this long overdue legislation in the Senate. It’s past time to protect our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. https://t.co/8CNVKTEkIt
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) February 26, 2021
The tight race between Walker and Warnock saw LGBTQ+ issues increase as a priority among Georgia voters, particularly on the topic of trans rights. Walker was heavily criticised for saying “Jesus may not recognise you” when asked if trans people would go to heaven.
In contrast, Warnock has consistently voiced support for the LGBTQ+ community and has voted with fellow Democrats for legislation protecting transgender people and same-sex marriage. He also frequently uses his position as a pastor to talk to more religious audiences about LGBTQ+ issues and acceptance.
The midterms have seen Georgians elect six openly LGBTQ+ politicians to the state legislature and send only the third openly LGBTQ+ woman to represent the state in Congress.
The Democrats have retained control of the Senate, and are currently on 50 seats to the Republicans’ 49 after winning Nevada. Even if the Republicans win Georgia, vice president Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote.
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