Georgia Democrats Hope Rev. Raphael Warnock Can Revive the Party

The Rev. Raphael Warnock delivers a sermon during church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church Sunday Jan. 18, 2009, in Atlanta. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer, the church where the late Dr. Martin Luther King once also pastored. (AP Photo/John Amis)
The Rev. Raphael Warnock delivers a sermon during church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church Sunday Jan. 18, 2009, in Atlanta. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer, the church where the late Dr. Martin Luther King once also pastored. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Georgia Democrats are hoping Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church can revive the party.

“I believe, all the way in my gut, that if Rev. Raphael Warnock should decide to run, he could bring the change we are looking for.”

Those are the words of Dubose Porter, the head of Georgia’s Democratic Party.

During a recent Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock told the congregation he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate.

“I’m gonna go away for a few days in a quiet prayer retreat,” he said, “And then I’m going to come back and talk, and hear you, and then we’ll go together.”

Warnock will return from his sabbatical soon.

He’s far from the favorite to win the Senate seat up for grabs in the 2016 election, but Georgia Democrats are hopeful. They think he can revive the party.

Toughest Competition

The result of the 2014 Senate race was disappointing to Georgia’s Democrats. And that might be an understatement.

Polls showed the race was a toss-up, but in the end it wasn’t close. Republican David Perdue beat Democrat Michelle Nunn by about 7 percent.

Now, Rev. Warnock makes Democrats hopeful Georgia could really become a toss-up state.

“His candidacy will be very exciting for us,” says Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D- Columbus).

But she says it will be hard for Warnock to beat the incumbent, Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who may be Georgia’s favorite working politician.

For the last 22 years, Isakson has attended the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration at Warnock’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. The senator says he wouldn’t miss it; he’ll be back next year.

“I’m doing everything I can to raise the money necessary to take the fight to whomever comes,” Isakson says. “I can’t worry about who it is. I’ve got to worry about being prepared, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

And with millions in the bank already, he’s got a good start. Democrat Michael Thurmond took on Isakson six years ago, and he has this advice for Warnock.

“Get as much cash as you can, but this time is a bit different because it is a presidential election year,” he says.

And here’s where a sort of chicken or the egg scenario pops-up. To win, Warnock will need support from the Democratic presidential candidate. How does he get that support? He makes the Senate race competitive, says Thurmond.

“A viable Democratic candidate, running in a competitive race would increase the likelihood that Georgia could become a battleground state.”

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Source: Valdosta Today

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