Dec. 1, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election

By Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Melissa Macaya and Séan Federico-O'Murchú,
CNN

Updated 10:24 PM ET, Thu December 1, 2022
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11:12 a.m. ET, December 1, 2022

More than 1.1 million votes cast in Georgia runoff so far

From CNN's Ethan Cohen

Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on Tuesday, November 29, in Atlanta.
Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on Tuesday, November 29, in Atlanta. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

More than 1.1 million votes have been cast in Georgia ahead of next week’s Senate runoff election, according to data from the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

Early in-person voting in the state crossed the 1 million mark with more than 280,000 voters going to the polls on Wednesday.

Georgia has had several days this week with historically high early voting numbers, but overall, with only two more days of early in-person voting, the state is on pace to have far fewer pre-election voters than in the 2021 runoff, when more than 3.1 million Georgians voted by mail or in person before Election Day.

This runoff, with its compressed timeframe, has had far fewer days of early voting than either the 2021 runoff or last month’s general election.

12:39 p.m. ET, December 1, 2022

Woman alleges to Daily Beast that Herschel Walker was violent with her in 2005

From CNN's Kyle Blaine

Herschel Walker speaks to members of the media following a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, on May 18.
Herschel Walker speaks to members of the media following a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, on May 18. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

An ex-girlfriend of Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia, has come forward in The Daily Beast to allege that the former football star was violent and threatening toward her during an incident that took place in 2005.

Cheryl Parsa, a Dallas resident, told the news outlet she had a five-year relationship with Walker from 2004 to 2009. She alleges that in 2005, after she found Walker with another woman, he got angry, and, according to her account, placed his hands on her chest and neck and also swung his fist at her. She told The Daily Beast that she thought he was “going to beat me” and that she fled.

CNN has reached out to Parsa and Walker’s campaign for comment.

Parsa’s account, which she is making for the first time on the record, is just the latest in a string of past allegations made against Walker of violent and threatening behavior that have now resurfaced during his Senate campaign. Some of the allegations have been the basis for attack ads against Walker by Democrats.

CNN reported last year that a Texas woman had told police in 2002 that Walker had threatened and stalked her. Walker has also been accused by his ex-wife and another ex-girlfriend of making threats, and they told authorities that Walker had threatened to shoot them in the head. Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, told CNN in a 2008 interview that Walker had held a razor to her throat, and at one point, “he held [a] gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out.”

When faced with past allegations of violence, Walker’s campaign, and Walker himself, have often pointed to his public struggle with mental health. Walker has publicly discussed his diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, which was previously known as multiple personality disorder.

The Daily Beast said it spoke to a person close to Parsa who said Parsa told the person about the incident at the time.

The Daily Beast said Parsa also provided a book-length manuscript detailing her relationship with Walker based on her contemporaneous notes and journal entries, along with cards, business plans, gifts and photos of her and Walker together to corroborate their romantic relationship. The outlet also said it spoke to four people close to Parsa who corroborated the relationship, one of whom the publication described as “one of Walker’s former romantic partners.”

Walker is facing Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in the Georgia Senate runoff on Tuesday. The race advanced to the runoff after neither candidate got more than 50% of the vote in the November general election.

9:30 a.m. ET, December 1, 2022

Trump won't appear in Georgia to campaign for Walker ahead of runoff

From CNN's Mike Warren and Kristen Holmes

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada, on October 8.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada, on October 8. (José Luis Villegas/Pool/AP/File)

Former President Donald Trump will not appear in Georgia to campaign for Herschel Walker ahead to the state’s Dec. 6 runoff, a person close to the Republican Senate candidate told CNN, opting instead to phone in for a remote rally with supporters some day before the election.

Trump was Walker’s earliest and most enthusiastic supporter for the Senate nomination, and his backing effectively cleared the GOP field for the former Georgia Bulldog football star. Republican operatives, both in the state and nationwide, had expressed concerns that a visit from Trump — who earlier this month declared his candidacy for the White House in 2024 — would hurt Walker’s effort to defeat incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Warnock, a Democrat, won his seat in a runoff in 2021 following Trump’s loss in the presidential election in Georgia. Many Republicans blame Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election in Georgia for their defeat in the January 2021 runoffs. And Trump’s own political team decided that given his recent track record in Georgia, he wouldn’t travel there in the final days of the 2022 midterms.

Some Republican operatives in Georgia were hopeful that another potential White House hopeful, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, would make an appearance, but the person close to Walker said DeSantis is not going to campaign for him either. 

Other GOP operatives in Georgia told CNN they had raised the point that a visit from the popular Florida governor might prompt Trump to travel to the state as well. 

The New York Times first reported that Trump would not be in Georgia before the runoff.

3:11 p.m. ET, December 1, 2022

Early voting is surging across Georgia ahead of runoff election

From CNN's Gregory Krieg and Eva McKend

A person receives a sticker that reads "I'm a Georgia voter" at the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta after voting in the runoff election on November 29.
A person receives a sticker that reads "I'm a Georgia voter" at the Metropolitan Library in Atlanta after voting in the runoff election on November 29. (Megan Varner/Reuters)

The compressed timeframe of Georgia’s Senate runoff has juiced single-day turnout across the state as the race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker enters the homestretch.

The Secretary of State’s Office announced that 300,588 voters had early voted on Tuesday. While Gabriel Sterling, the secretary of state’s chief operating officer, had said late Tuesday that early voting that day had broken Monday’s record, official numbers from the office put the day’s total at slightly below Monday’s single-day record of 303,166.

Younger voters are making a particularly impressive showing, with those aged 50 or under accounting for about a quarter of the vote so far, according to official figures Wednesday morning. Overall, more than 830,000 votes have been cast.

“We’re the belle of the ball,” Sterling told “CNN This Morning” on Wednesday when asked about the enthusiasm surrounding the race. “Every political dollar in America is coming here right now both on the left and the right.”

Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on November 29 in Atlanta.
Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on November 29 in Atlanta. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The surge to the polls underscores the importance of the last major undecided contest of the 2022 midterm elections. A victory for Warnock, who won more votes earlier this month but fell short of a clinching majority, would give Democrats a clean Senate majority – one that doesn’t rely on Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote and allows Majority Leader Chuck Schumer more control of key committees and some slack in potentially divisive judicial and administrative confirmation fights.

And the GOP knows it. Republicans appearing with Walker on Tuesday in Greensboro stressed the importance of winning a 50th Senate seat – as they tried to juice enthusiasm despite their hopes of reclaiming the majority being dashed earlier this month.

“What a lot of people forgot about is the committees,” said Oklahoma Sen.-elect Markwayne Mullin. “This vote December 6 for Herschel Walker, it still allows us to hold up all those appointments.”

Mullin echoed Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, who also spoke at the same rally and urged supporters to get to the polls and vote early.

“Herschel is our MVP. He will be our 50th vote in the Senate. He gets us the tie. He makes it so we can stop this disastrous Biden agenda,” McDaniel said.

Warnock and Democrats have been less forward about the potential implications of his reelection after he won a special election last year. But the party is going all-in to secure him a first full term. Former President Barack Obama is returning to Georgia on Thursday for a rally and former first lady Michelle Obama has now lent her voice to a pair of robocalls urging Georgians to vote.