The coffee shop was small. The support for Warnock? Anything but.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock poses with his supporters at Omni Coffee & Eggs in Atlanta. (Photo: Toni Odejimi/HUNewsService.com)
By Toni Odejimi
Howard University News Service
It was all about early voting again for Sen. Raphael Warnock who spoke at Omni Coffee & Eggs in Atlanta on Wednesday as a part of his “One More Time” runoff campaign.
This is especially true on the cusp of his lawsuit win against Georgia state officials. Warnock and the Democratic Party of Georgia filed a suit against the provision that prohibited early voting on Nov. 26, and won. This allowed for early voting to occur in various participating counties, like Rockdale, Cobb and Gwinnett. Douglas and DeKalb counties started early voting last weekend. Early voting across the state began on Monday, November 28.
Warnock was pretty candid that the event in hand wasn’t to encourage the people standing in front of him to vote. No, he already knew they were going do that.
“I didn’t come this morning to convince y’all to vote,” Warnock explained. “I came to convince you to convince others.”
This push to re-energize voters came after the 2022 midterm elections saw Democratic candidates lose up and down the ballot. Even Eshé Collins, the chair of the Atlanta Board of Education, understood that some voters were feeling reluctant to hit the polls again. She stressed that voters, particularly the 18-35 and 65+ crowd, need to run it back and vote.
Despite the push to get voters back to the ballot box, Warnock’s supporters in attendance didn’t see this runoff as a time to despair. No, they saw it as a time for hope. They were aware of the voter fatigue, some of them even admitted that they have it. But, to Takara McGee, there’s quite literally no other choice.
“He has to win,” McGee said. “There’s no other choice as far as Black people, women.”
McGee was referring to Herschel Walker, who believes that abortion should be illegal regardless of the reason as he denies allegations from women that he has encouraged and paid for their abortions.
In his speech, Warnock maintained his stance on keeping politicians out of the abortion clinic. He also criticized Walker’s comments on how diabetes can be avoided with proper nutrition and exercise in reference to insulin pricing. Warnock has been pushing to reduce insulin’s cost, which he eventually did by lowering it to $35 for people covered under “traditional Medicare.”
But insulin and attacks at his contender aside, Warnock still holds faithful that he’ll win his reelection.
“We have a lot of momentum behind this race. And we’re going to win,” Warnock said.
Nevertheless, Davida Huntley, a Warnock supporter and former candidate in a school board election, said turnout for this year’s midterm was disappointing.
Huntley said more people should have turned out for early voting, especially with the money spent on campaigning, which she described as “deplorable.” Overall turnout in Georgia was 3.96 million, or 57 percent, of the 6.95 million registered voters, according to the Secretary of State. About 2.9 million voters cast early ballots in person.
Why are these voters not coming out? Huntley thinks it’s down to a lack of faith within the election system. And she has some words for that.
“Everything you do is political,” Huntley said. “There is no such thing as ‘I’m not political. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect me.’ If you’re living and breathing, if you have a heartbeat, you are a part of the political process. And as long as you’re of the correct age, you should participate.”
Toni Odejimi is a student at Georgia State University and reporter for HUNewsService.com. She is part of the election team and has been covering the Warnock-Walker race.