The campaign between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Herschel Walker has gotten really nasty in the final week before next Tuesday's runoff. Both campaigns are flooding the airwaves with bitter attack ads. If you live in Georgia, turn off the TV and go find a book to read until next Wednesday. In one ad, Warnock, with his beloved beagle, says that it feels like we've been here before—with Walker telling the same old lies as he did during the main campaign and trying to distract people from seeing him for who he really is. Walker countered with an ad calling Warnock a coward for refusing to stand up for female athletes (who don't want to have to play sports against biological males).
Outside groups are running attack ads as well. One pro-Warnock ad says Walker has decades of violence against women including threatening violence against a girlfriend unless she had an abortion. Of course, that one could cut both ways. Some Democrats might interpret that one as saying: "Yeah, Walker is a sleazebag but deep down he is actually pro-choice." A pro-Walker ad says that a low-income apartment building tied to Warnock is evicting residents.
But some of Warnock's ad's mirror ads run by Sen.-elect John Fetterman (D-PA). Instead of being venal, they are funny, like this one:
Total ad spending on the runoff is expected to exceed $57 million, with Democrats spending $37 million and Republicans $20 million. That's about $2 million a day for 28 days. It is hard to imagine after so much advertising for 6 months, another week is going to matter much. The reality is that turnout and the ground game is what is going to matter.
Speaking of turnout, it is surging, breaking record after record. As of Tuesday evening, 830,000 votes have been cast, including 300,000 on Tuesday alone. Gabrielle Stern, the #2 official in the Georgia secretary of state's office, said: "We're the belle of the ball." Stern said that younger voters have made up a quarter of the early vote and those over 50 made up another quarter. Historically, more Democrats than Republicans vote early, though, so early voting numbers can be misleading. (V)