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Political Note #269   The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock   US Senate Georgia (B)

2020                            General Election

In 2018, the DCCC did a very smart thing. The Congressional Campaign Committee endorsed early in California. They endorsed early because California has an all-party primary. The top two candidates, regardless of political party, run against each other in a run off. The DCCC wanted to make sure that a Democrat was one of the top two.   For special elections, Georgia has a system like that. And Georgia has a special election for the US Senate coming up in November. The DSCC has followed the DCCC lead. They have endorsed early — the Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock https://warnockforgeorgia.com/. So have a bunch of US Senators. So has Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia in 2018.

This is a five person race for the seat from which US Senator Johnny Isakson resigned . Three Democrats are running. Businessman Matt Lieberman has been campaigning for this seat for a while. He has been around politics. His father, Joe Lieberman, was the US Senator from Connecticut and Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. Former US Attorney Ed Tarver is also running. An African American, he was a State Senator in Georgia before he was appointed US Attorney in 2009 by Barack Obama. The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock was the third Democrat to enter the race.

Raphael Warnock is the Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. There is no more important African=American religious post. Few American religious posts are as important. Ebenezer Baptist of Atlanta has had five Senior Pastors since it was founded in 1886. Martin Luther King, Sr. became Senior Pastor in 1927. Martin Luther King, Jr. became Co-Senior Pastor in 1960 and remained as in that role until his death in 1968. Raphael Warnock became Senior Pastor in 2005.

Two Republicans are running. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the US Senate by Georgia’s Republican Governor. President Trump was praised her after the impeachment acquittal for being nasty. Member of Congress Doug Collin – one of Donald Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters – has also announced. With only two candidates running, Republicans have an edge.

If a Democrat is to be elected to the US Senate from Georgia, one of the three Democrats running will have to get an overwhelming proportion of the Democratic votes. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, slightly more Georgians are or lean Republican than Democratic. Imagine one Republican getting 26% of the non-partisan primary vote, another getting 25%. Imagine one Democrat getting 17% of the vote and two getting 16% each. The Democrats would be shut out of the run off.

A successful Democrat needs about two-thirds of the Democratic votes in the non-partisan primary.   Two thirds voting for the successful Democrat would yield slightly more than 26% of the total vote.   Two thirds of the Democrats voting for one candidate would ensure that a Democrat would be in the runoff against a Republican.

Endorsing the Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock early is the DSCC’s path to electing one more Democratic Senator. Just as California elected every one of the DCCC’s early endorsed Democrats, sweeping formerly Republican Orange County, Georgia Democrats have their winning candidate.

Despite being born to poverty, The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock has earned a pedigree. He is a graduate of Morehouse University, an Historically Black College. Morehouse was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s undergraduate school. An all men’s school, it is affiliated with other African American colleges in Atlanta, including the all women Spelman College.

Raphael Warnock has a Master’s Degree and Doctorate from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The Union Theological Seminary, is the oldest unaffiliated seminary in the United States. A center of learning and liberal theology, it is affiliated with its neighbors in Manhattan’s Upper West Side — Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Raphael Warnock was the eleventh child in a blended family of twelve children. They lived in public housing, the Kayton Homes in Savanna, Georgia. As many as ten members of the family lived in four rooms at the same time. His parents were Pentacostal preachers, members of an evangelical movement distinguished for, among other things, having women preachers. He attributes his success to his parents’ love and faith. He has positive recollections of the Upward Bound Program at Savanna State College and has returned to speak there. (Score one for Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society). His father’s church, Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, was important for the development of his views of Christianity. Primarily, he was moved by Martin Luther King, Jr. He learned King’s sermons and followed his activism.

Raphael Warnock is an ambitious man. He committed himself to important churches and important places. He was ordained at and stayed for six years at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama – ten blocks from where the four girls were killed by a bomber. Raphael Warnock spent four years as youth pastor and assistant pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. This was Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.’s church, a place where you could learn how a pastor combines a black church and politics. He was Senior Pastor at the Douglas Memorial Church in Baltimore for four years before his appointment in Atlanta.

In each of these churches, he reckoned with the dual purpose of the black church – spiritual nurturance and activism. At Ebenezer Baptist, he preached, but also brought refugees from Hurricane Katrina back to New Orleans to vote and assisted members of the Church in financial literacy. He has been at Ebenezer Baptist for ten years. He was thirty-five when he began there, the youngest of that church’s five Senior Pastors. The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock’s widely used book is about the tension between the two purposes of the black church – The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety & Public Witness.

He could write a book about women. The penultimate chapter of The Divided Mind is about women. His mother is still preaching. One of his sisters is a pastor. He has a young daughter and a powerful wife. Ouleye Ndoya is a Phi Beta graduate from Spelman College. As an undergraduate, she led a group of Spelman and Morehouse students on a trip to Senegal. She was awarded a Weidenfeld Scholarship, allowing her to earn a Master’s Degree at Oxford. She has continued her interest in Africa. She is currently completing her PhD at Columbia, addressing trafficking issues for the City of Atlanta, and working in public private partnerships to address the trafficking of girls from Africa and Asia.

Rally around Raphael Warnock https://warnockforgeorgia.com/. The Democrats can win a Senate seat in Georgia. They can only win that Senate seat if they have one of the top two finishers in November. The run off election will be a month later on January 5 so long as the Georgia legislature doesn’t change the rules. Help Raphael Warnock approach 40% of the vote in the non-partisan primary. Make certain he is one of the top two candidates. Add him to your list of people you support.


Help some other Democratic candidates for the Senate as well.

The most vulnerable Democrat

Alabama             Reelect Doug Jones

Another vulnerable Democrats

Michigan             Reelect Gary Peters

Democrats running against the most vulnerable Republican incumbents

Arizona               Elect Astronaut Mark Kelly

North Carolina    Elect Environmentalist businessman Cal Cunningham


Democrats running against other vulnerable Republicans

Alaska                Elect Physician and Commercial Fisherman Al Gross

Georgia              Elect Pastor Raphael Warnock

Iowa                    Elect Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield

Kansas                Elect Physician and former Republican State Senator Barbara Bollier

Kentucky            Elect former fighter pilot Amy McGrath

Maine                  Elect Maine House Majority Leader Sara Gideon

Mississippi        Elect former Congressman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy

South Carolina   Elect former Party Chair Jaime Harrison


*Colorado is the third in this group. Is former governor and presidential candidate John Hickenlooper far enough ahead of the rest of the Democratic primary field tp definitely be the nominee?