Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for Georgia senate, speaks with supporters during a campaign stop near Coan Park in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for Georgia senate, speaks with supporters during a campaign stop near Coan Park in Atlanta, Ga., on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Warnock is a senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and he could unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in January

Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has forced Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler into a runoff this January. With control of the Senate possibly riding on the result of that race, Warnock is someone you will be hearing a lot about. Below we’ve compiled everything you may want to know about the reverand that could be headed to Congress.

Warnock is a reverand who grew up in public housing in Savannah, Georgia, with his 11 brothers and sisters. His parents were Pentecostal preachers, which Warnock says helped him find a religious calling from a young age. 

He attended Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and then the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as a pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, and then the Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore.

Although this is Warnock’s first time as a political candidate, the 51-year-old has been a senior pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta – the same church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached – since 2005. At Barack Obama’s request, Warnock delivered the closing prayer at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Service.

His campaign is focused on 10 major issues, including reproductive rights, voting rights, and equality for LBGTQ+ and marginalized people. Other platforms he promotes are access to affordable, quality health care and education for all, criminal justice reform, and the “need to rebuild an economy that works for everyone.”

“There’s so much at stake. These are issues I’ve been working on for years. I don’t have to make anything up,” Warnock told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “We witnessed this summer a multi-racial, multi-faith coalition of conscience pouring out onto American streets. Black kids, white kids, young people, old people saying ‘We’re better than this.’”

The special election Senate race is due to former Sen. Johnny Isakson retiring before his term officially ended, due to health concerns. Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to replace him, despite her never having held public office before. As reported by NPR, Loeffler portrayed herself as a staunch Republican after she was announced as the replacement. “I’m a lifelong conservative, pro-Second Amendment, pro-military, pro-wall and pro-Trump,” Loeffler said. “And I make no apologies for my conservative values and will proudly support President Trump’s conservative judges.”

The Nov. 3rd race was highly competitive, due to a whopping 21 candidates running on the ballot. Although Warnock received 33% of the vote compared to Loeffler’s 26%, one candidate has to get over 50% to be declared the winner. Republican Rep. Doug Collins received 20% of the vote, and the next highest candidate was Democrat Deborah Jackson, who obtained just under 7% of the vote. The high Republican voter turnout points to a challenging – and expensive – runoff race for Warnock.

Warnock is already in the fight, and released a tongue-in-cheek campaign ad involving puppies and eating pizza with a fork.

The runoff is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2021.