US Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is the heavy betting favorite in Tuesday’s culmination of the special runoff election in Georgia against Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
After a surprisingly strong performance from the Democrats during the November 8 general election — resulting in President Joe Biden’s party retaining Senate control, albeit currently in the slimmest of manners — a Warnock victory could provide the Democrats with a bit of breathing room.
Come Jan. 3, 2023, Biden’s party will control at least 50 seats in the Senate. With the vice president serving as Senate president and only casting votes in the event of tiebreaks, VP Kamala Harris gives the Dems a slight edge. But if Warnock prevails today, as expected by both political bettors and pollsters, the Democrats would occupy 51 of the 100 Senate seats next year.
According to the latest polling averages compiled by Real Clear Politics, Warnock holds a 3.7-point advantage over the former college football great.
Bettors Forecast Warnock Victory
Peer-to-peer wagering exchanges that legally allow US political aficionados to risk actual money on elections believe Warnock will glide to reelection on Tuesday. Many political analysts expect a Warnock victory to be declared in the hours after the polls close in Georgia around 7 p.m. EST.
PredictIt bettors give Warnock a 92% chance of winning another six years in DC. Smarkets has the Democrat favored even more heavily, with an implied reelection chance of more than 96%. Both are all-time trading highs for the incumbent.
Raphael Warnock’s position in our Georgia Senate market has become stronger and stronger over the last month. On the morning of the midterms, Warnock was the underdog, rated a 38% chance of winning, but with a stronger-than-expected result he climbed to 74% over the next 48 hours, before reaching an all-time high of 94% today,” Smarkets political analyst Patrick Flynn told Casino.org.
“In the lead-up to the run-off, Republican candidate Herschel Walker has done nothing to convince the market of his strength, and he’s now rated a pretty remote prospect to win tonight,” Flynn added.
Trading today has been extensive, as Warnock backers look to increase their positions and Walker investors seek to offload their shares and cut their losses. More than 110,000 Warnock and Walker shares were traded on Monday alone.
The Republicans’ forecast “red wave” last month never materialized, as Democrats managed to fend off a major upset. How they did that remains up for debate. But a considerable portion of the GOP believes former President Donald Trump is to blame for the Republicans’ shortcomings.
Walker could become yet another Trump-endorsed candidate to underperform. Walker, a Texas resident before 2022, was encouraged by Trump to seek Georgia’s Senate seat.
Though he needed to establish residency in Georgia, Walker has strong name recognition in the Peach State dating back to his college football days. That’s when he led the Georgia Bulldogs to the National Championship in 1980 and won the Heisman Trophy two years later.
Walker was the odds-on favorite ahead of November 8, with bettors giving him a roughly 64% chance of winning. But over the past month, it’s been Warnock riding a “blue wave” that’s expected to culminate with a long-awaited victory speech on Tuesday night.
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