A gay third-party Senate candidate could cause a runoff election in Georgia, a state where a candidate must receive a majority of the vote to be declared the winner.
The race between incumbent Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) and anti-LGBTQ Republican Herschel Walker also includes gay libertarian Chase Oliver. According to CNN, polls show Oliver garnering about three to four percent of the vote while neither Walker nor Warnock will end up with over 50%.
This means that as with the last Senate elections, all eyes could be on Georgia to determine who controls the Senate, as polls project 50 seats for Republicans and 49 for Democrats, not including Georgia. If the polls are correct about the rest of the Senate makeup and Warnock also wins the Georgia seat, Democrats will maintain control of the Senate with Vice President Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Oliver has spoken out against the two-party system and stated in a recent debate with Warnock (as Walker declined to attend), “I don’t have any interest in partisan bickering. I owe no allegiance to either party. I only owe allegiance to you, the voter.”
Oliver is also the first out gay Senate candidate in Georgia. He recently spoke to CNN about Walker’s refusal to take a public stance against marriage equality, saying that based on Walker’s other views he has expressed about LGBTQ people, he would have to assume he is against same-sex marriage.
“It’s not hard to figure out where his allegiance probably lies there,” Oliver said.
Georgia Libertarian Senate candidate Chase Oliver could force the election into a runoff. He is also the first openly gay Senate candidate in the state. pic.twitter.com/kZRDPaGqBp
— CNN (@CNN) November 6, 2022
Walker has stated that trans kids won’t go to heaven and has spoken out against allowing trans kids to play sports as their gender. He has also been accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife, who appeared in an ad from the Republican Accountability PAC saying that he held a gun to her head and threatened to “blow my brains out.”
Despite claiming to be staunchly anti-abortion, he has been accused of paying for multiple abortions for women he has been with. He has also been accused of threatening and stalking multiple women.
Warnock, on the other hand, supports LGBTQ rights.
The Baptist pastor wrote an essay for The Advocate in 2020 deconstructing the idea that religious freedom is at odds with LGBTQ rights.
“Faith wielded as a cudgel to harm our neighbor has no place in our pews, in our streets, or in the halls of Congress,” he wrote.