ATLANTA — All eyes are on Georgia, a generally reliably red state with U.S. Senate seats dominated by Democrats - but that can all change in November.
Voters will have a chance to elect a member of the U.S. Senate to represent the Peach State in the nation's capital and this seat has the potential to secure the Democratic majority in Congress or give Republicans an edge in the Senate.
Georgia's U.S. Senate race outcome will have national implications, meaning each ballot matters that much more come to Election Day.
Here are the candidates running and what they stand for, according to their campaigns.
Rev. Raphael Warnock (D - Incumbent)
Sen. Warnock won the U.S. Senate seat during the 2020 special election. He won the seat previously held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed after Sen. Johnny Isakson's resignation. Flipping the historically Republican seat helped give Democrats a majority in the Senate. He plans to run on similar values with a new emphasis on "working across the aisle" and infrastructure. Warnock is the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Here's where he stands on popular issues.
Warnock acknowledges the global coronavirus pandemic disrupted the economy and Georgians' financial security and vows to keep that in mind when fighting for workers and opposing tax breaks that don't benefit working families.
Focusing on job creation, Warnock said he is seeking opportunities to improve infrastructure while bolstering business in key areas of the state. Warnock's team said he secured funding to create a new Inland Port in Hall County that will help create 700 new jobs while also making sure there are federal funds to keep Savannah's port growing - two key players that can help improve Georgia's economy.
His campaign points to his record in the Senate so far, including working with two Republican senators and a Democrat to re-introduce legislation that will protect small businesses from security breaches and efforts to save clean energy jobs.
The reverend is described as "a tireless advocate for Medicaid expansion," which his campaign describes as key to keeping rural hospitals open.
Ultimately, Warnock's goal is to expand affordable access to health care, working in the Senate to cap the cost of insulin and the costs of prescriptions for seniors. He's also joining forces in the Senate to pass a federal Medicaid-like program to help cover more than half a million uninsured Georgians, according to his campaign.
With Georgia's rising maternal mortality rate, Warnock has also introduced the Kira Johnson Act to help curb the crisis. He's announced that he's rejecting corporate PAC money to limit influence from insurance and pharmaceutical companies, his website reads.
Warnock believes that election integrity is rooted in the right to vote.
He introduced the Preventing Election Subversion Act targeting Georgia's SB 202, a controversial election law passed after the 2020 election. Warnock's proposal works to help close the gaps his campaign said exists in Georgia's current election law, making it a felony to harass or intimidate election workers, would help prevent local officials from being removed from office for partisan reasons, and relies on federal courts to stop partisan efforts to take control of local election administrations.
The senator is also working to push the Freedom to Vote Act to become law, which would set a federal standard and give a citizen the right to vote in any election for federal office, regardless if they have been convicted of a crime - unless the person is serving a felony sentence.
Herschel Walker (R)
A former NFL running back and University of Georgia student athlete, the Heisman Trophy winner is playing the field and tackling the political stage starting with the Senate race.
The businessman is running as Georgia's Trump-backed Christian candidate standing on the pillars of an anti-abortion, pro-law enforcement, and supporter of veterans campaign platform. If elected, he would impact the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate and maintains that he stands for conservative family values and will bring that into Congress.
Here's where he stands on issues Georgians say matter.
Walker says his business savvy will help the nation become energy independent to help lower gas prices, create more jobs in the U.S. and strengthen national security.
CEO of two companies, his campaign said his small operation has grown to be a large minority-owned food supplier in the country. Walker intends to use his experience to fight for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and more free-market capitalism.
Economically, he plans to support Georgia's strong agriculture, tourism, film production and manufacturing industries - though his campaign does not outline how.
Since being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Walker has worked to break the stigma around mental health, marking it a personal priority to raise awareness.
Walker relies heavily on prayer and faith to guide him, with his campaign branding him as "a compassionate conservative who is pro-life and pro-family." He's emphasized on the campaign trail that families should make their own personal decisions with little government interference.
Walker has vowed to protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution and maintained the disproven claim that there was voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Chase Oliver (L)
Branding himself as the candidate not focused on special interests, gridlock and partisan fighting - Chase Oliver is running as the Libertarian candidate hoping to wedge himself into the U.S. Senate's two-party system.
Oliver's priorities are aimed at reforming the nation's immigration system and simplifying the complex laws and regulations to help improve the nation's economy and quality of life. He also hopes to empower people and not the government by ending qualified immunity for federal law enforcement and ending mandatory minimum sentencing to reform the justice system.
Here's where he stands on other main issues.
The libertarian proposed going line by line through tax and regulatory codes to make it easier to start a new business and remove competitive advantages that larger companies have utilized by lobbying. Oliver also believes Georgia should formally legalize cannabis to help boost the economy and get more people out of jail and prison.
People create jobs, not the government, according to Oliver's campaign, which is why his priority is to help businesses thrive as fairly as possible.
When it comes to health care, Oliver aims to leave personal decisions up to the patient. He does not want the government to over-extend its participation in one's well-being and vows to end programs that do so while protecting each person's civil liberties.
Oliver's view is simple: protect people's civil liberties.
He plans on decriminalizing cannabis, ending the prosecution of "victimless crimes" and not limit a person's inherent rights - such as the right to vote. He believes law enforcement, and the government, should rise to their role in securing liberty instead of denying or limiting it.
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