Early voting begins in Georgia after heated debate

Elections 2022

(NewsNation) — Early voting begins this week in Georgia, and close to 200,000 absentee ballots have already been requested. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker have lined up some very big names in the final weeks leading up to Election Day. NewsNation’s exclusive debate on Friday put the two front and center, along with who might control the Senate.

Each man accused the other of having a “problem with the truth” as they spent an hour of debate trading personal verbal jabs and invoking religion in a debate that hit on issues ranging across abortion, personal integrity, the economy, foreign policy, health care and crime.

Yet, the debate featured little substantive policy discussion and instead produced personal attacks and unanswered questions from the candidates. The debate grew particularly heated when crime and personal integrity were the topics of conversation.

Just like the 2020 presidential election, one leading polling firm listed Georgia as the most likely to decide which party controls Congress, making the exclusive Georgia Senate debate that much more important for voters.

Polls revealed that the economy is the biggest concern for Georgia voters.

“Within two years, this inflation has gotten worse,” Walker said during the debate.

Warnock responded saying, “We passed the Inflation Reduction Act … He said he would not have voted for the Inflation Reduction Act.”

The candidates also faced off on issues like abortion. Walker denied the report that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion despite his anti-abortion stance.

“That’s a lie, and on abortion, you know, I’m a Christian. I believe in life,” Walker said. “I’m a Christian, but I’m also representing the people of Georgia. So what the people of Georgia stand for, I’m the same with them.”

When asked if there should be any limitations on abortion set by the government, Warnock said, “I think that the women of this country, and the women of this state, woke up one summer morning and a core protection that they’ve known for 50 years was taken from them by an extremist Supreme Court.”

“A patient’s room is too narrow, small, and cramped for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government,” Warnock said. “We are witnessing right now, what happens right now, what happens, when politicians, mostly men pile into patients’ rooms. The women of Georgia deserve a senator who will stand with them. I trust women more than I trust politicians.”

In one of the debate’s odder moments, Walker drew a stiff reprimand from a debate moderator after he pulled what has been deemed a prop police badge out of his pocket. Walker claimed it was real in response to a jab from Warnock in which he mocked a false claim Walker had once made that he had been a police officer.

“One thing I have never done is pretend to be a police officer and I have never threatened a shootout with police,” Warnock said.

Walker then pulled out a police badge and said, “You know what’s funny is I am with many police officers” while he flashed the badge to the laughing audience. The debate moderator then reminded Walker props were not allowed in the debate, to which Walker responded, “It’s not a prop, this is real.”

In a post-debate interview with NewsNation’s Leland Vittert, Walker again refuted Warnock’s claim he had ever posed as a police officer and said he has “worked with law enforcement” and carries the badge on him “all the time.”

“I have trained with FBI, I have supported men and women in blue for years,” Walker said. “This is not something that I just happened to do, so they lied about it.”

On the subject of personal integrity, Warnock did not directly answer multiple questions about a report that an apartment building owned by him and his church had been evicting tenants who in some cases owed just $25 in unpaid rent.

Walker capitalized on Warnock’s avoidance of the questions about the report, saying, “Now you see who has a problem with the truth.” Warnock painted the report as an attempt by right-leaning media to smear him.

“I am saying it is very obvious my opponent and his allies are trying to sully Ebenezer Baptist Church,” Warnock said.

Several prominent Republicans have been campaigning on behalf of Walker, but he’s been keeping a very low profile ever since those abortion allegations.

Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Georgia to rally votes for Warnock. However, if neither candidate gets 50% of the vote next month, the race could be decided by a runoff in December.

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