T HE EXHORTATIONS are as wry as they are urgent: “Vote Warnock (again)”, read the sweatshirts. “One more time”, read the placards. Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, is urging voters in Georgia to turn out for him for the fifth time in less than two years, in a run-off election on Tuesday December 6th against Herschel Walker, a Republican who is a former American-football star.
“I know you might be tired—I get tired too,” Mr Warnock, a Baptist preacher, said at a rally on Sunday evening in the New Freedom Christian Centre in East Athens. “But can you imagine how tired you are going to be if Herschel Walker is your senator for the next six years?” Mr Warnock won his seat after a run-off in a special election two years ago. He narrowly beat Mr Walker, now a businessman, in the midterm election last month. But with a third-party candidate also in the race Mr Warnock failed to secure a majority. Under Georgia election law, that forced the run-off.
Mr Warnock is favoured narrowly to win, but the vagaries of turnout make the outcome impossible to predict. More than 1.86m Georgians have voted early, breaking single-day records despite waits of more than two hours at some polling stations. The early vote is believed to favour Mr Warnock, whereas the election-day vote is expected to skew towards Mr Walker.
The run-off is the first Senate contest in Georgia’s history between two black candidates, and both men grew up poor in what they have described as large, loving families. They