Will Rev. Raphael Warnock Be Responsible for Helping Turn Georgia Blue?

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, right, speaks during a press conference after Confederate flags were found on the church's premises Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Atlanta. U.S. authorities are investigating after several Confederate battle flags were discovered near the church and a civil rights center named after Martin Luther King, an iconic leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Thursday morning. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, right, speaks during a press conference after Confederate flags were found on the church’s premises Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Atlanta. U.S. authorities are investigating after several Confederate battle flags were discovered near the church and a civil rights center named after Martin Luther King, an iconic leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Thursday morning. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Rev. Raphael Warnock has been arrested while advocating for Medicaid expansion and inspired black parishioners to go to the polls during last year’s midterm elections as part of the “Souls to the Polls” movement. Now, he’s considering whether to translate his activism to a campaign and seek one of Georgia’s Senate seats. 

Warnock pastors at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his spiritual home. As similar civil rights battles are being waged decades later, Warnock is weighing whether it would be feasible to balance the demands of preaching and partisanship.

Warnock is considering challenging Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Thursday. The pastor is “wrestling” with the decision, he said during his sermon on Sunday.

“I am committed to Ebenezer Baptist Church and I have no plans to leave Ebenezer under no circumstances. None, whatsoever,” he said. “Now, I know that comes with great comfort to some. Preachers all over the country, shaking off their resume. Tell them to hold on to it. We have had five pastors since 1886. I plan to keep up the tradition.”

“The question is not whether I’m leaving,” he continued. “The question is, can I serve the people of Ebenezer and the people of Georgia as a servant at the same time? Some people say you can’t. Some people say you can.”

A Warnock bid could be a potential game-changer in Georgia, which hasn’t had a Democrat in the Senate since former Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss unseated Max Cleland in 2002. Republican businessman David Perdue beat Democratic nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn by eight points in last year’s midterm elections, even as he made seemingly incriminating missteps. Nunn, who is the daughter of a popular former Democratic senator, ran on a moderate platform and emphasized her willingness to work across the aisle. If Warnock ran, and won, he’d be the first African-American to do so statewide.

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Source: Huffington Post | Samantha Lachman

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