If Georgia isn’t on Democrats’ minds, it should be. It shouldn’t take too much of a reminder to recall the election of 2020, and an outcome that delivered the Senate to the Dems. Well, that setting is once more on the horizon, and it could be even more critical when you consider the senate and gubernatorial races.

During the recent debate between the Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and GOP contender Herschel Walker, the two Black men went after each other like Ali v. Frazier, though Warnock seemed less inclined to truly take off the gloves. Recent polls indicate that Warnock is favored by 46.4% of respondents to Walker’s 43.4%, and given the margin of error it’s a virtual dead heat.

Warnock has promised to be more aggressive as the midterm election looms ever closer. He told the press he is ready to be less restrained in favor of more direct attacks on his opponent. After casting his vote on Monday, he said “I guess he [Walker] expects the people of Georgia now to hallucinate and imagine that he is also a United States senator,” in reference to Walker flashing an honorary sheriff’s badge during the debate. “He’s clearly not ready.”

One woman polled said she will vote for Warnock because she likes his position on Medicaid expansion and against the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and on women’s reproductive rights. She believed that Walker was “not qualified to serve.” On the other hand, another woman said she liked Walker when he spoke at her church. “He seemed like a good man,” she said, “and I’m a Christian and I’m conservative in my values.” Still, many Republicans are having second thoughts about Walker after learning of allegations of violence against his ex-wife and that he paid for a former girlfriend’s abortion. “If these things are true,” one woman exclaimed, “that’s horrible.”

A recent poll has Brian Kemp, the Republican governor, opening up a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. Each new poll reveals an increase in Kemp’s lead over Abrams, who is once again seeking the state’s highest office. Even some of those polled promised to vote for Kemp, though they oppose his views on abortion.  

One person in the poll said she believed that Kemp has done a good job, and while she disagrees with Kemp on his opposition to abortion, “I can’t vote the other way on that one issue.”

At the moment Kemp maintains a marginal lead over Abrams and one he must keep in order to avoid a runoff in December. A Black man who works in communications said he plans to vote for Abrams because, “The conservative side had gone full on hypocrisy. I can’t get behind a single conservative candidate.”

Turnout will be a key factor in determining who comes out on top in both races, and Black voters have overwhelmingly preferred Abrams and Warnock, unsurprisingly. Race, gender, educational background, and age-groups will be pivotal points in both the senatorial and gubernatorial races, and as they always say there are polls and then there are polls, and they are only temporary barometers of the moment.

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