Today is the last day of early voting in Georgia, and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) is doing everything he can to finish strong. He's blanketing the airwaves with commercials, some of them negative, but many of them more positive and/or uplifting. His get-out-the-vote operation is running at full steam. He's on the campaign trail 12 hours a day, and yesterday held a rally with the rock star of Democratic rock stars, Barack Obama. "You have the power to determine the course of this country," the former president thundered.
Herschel Walker, on the other hand? Not so much. He's got less money, which means fewer ads and fewer people on the ground. He's a less... enthusiastic campaigner than Warnock, shall we say. In fact, the would-be senator decided to grant himself a five-day Thanksgiving vacation. So, for nearly a week, just as early voting was getting underway, he was invisible while Warnock was pounding the pavement. Republican officials are furious over their candidate's lackadaisical attitude.
If that were not enough, Walker got a couple more bits of adverse news on Thursday. First, five more of his ex-romantic partners came forward with tales of horror about his behavior. They said that he is often physically abusive, that he's profoundly dishonest, and that he's a serial philanderer. "He's a pathological liar. Absolutely. But it's more than that," said ex-girlfriend Cheryl Parsa, "He knows how to manipulate his disease, in order to manipulate people, while at times being simultaneously completely out of control." Clearly, someone is carefully managing the release of anti-Walker dirt. And they appear to be doing a bang-up job, such that there are new revelations almost every day.
On top of that, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-GA) waited in line for an hour to cast his ballot, and then announced that he just couldn't vote for either candidate. Appearing on CNN, Duncan said: "It was the most disappointing ballot I have ever stared at in my entire life. I got two candidates that didn't make any sense for me to put my vote behind. So I walked out of that ballot box, showing up to vote, but not voting for either one of them." It is unlikely that Democrats will be influenced by a Republican's lack of enthusiasm for their candidate. But Republicans? Maybe. Undoubtedly, it cost Richard Nixon some votes in 1960 when then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower said it would take him a week to think of something Nixon had contributed to the administration. Duncan's lack of enthusiasm for Walker could have the same effect.
Despite these various setbacks, Walker talked to Fox to peddle the story that the early turnout "looks good for me." But this is nonsense. The final result is going to be close, of course, but to the extent that we can read anything from the tea leaves thus far, it's that Warnock is leading. Relative to the general election, turnout is up slightly (a few percentage points) in blue counties, and among Black and young voters. Walker is almost certainly going to start in a hole of some size on Tuesday, and will need Election Day Republican votes to make that up. (Z)