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Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker, right. (AP) Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker, right. (AP)

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, faces Republican challenger Herschel Walker, right. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson November 4, 2022

Georgia’s Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker has been one of the most closely watched contests in this midterm election. It is considered crucial to determining whether Democrats hold their narrow majority in the chamber or lose it to the Republicans.

Many of the accusations in the race have involved the candidates’ personal lives. 

Walker has been accused by women of encouraging and in some cases paying for their abortions. These allegations surfaced as Walker professed anti-abortion stances on the campaign trail. He has also been accused of making violent threats toward women and police; those allegations never resulted in an arrest or charges being filed. 

Meanwhile, Warnock has been accused of hitting his wife with his car and neglecting his small children. Those are accusations stemming from a divorce battle with his ex-wife, Ouleye Ndoye. Police found no evidence that Warnock ran over Ndoye’s foot, and details of the custody case are not publicly available due to sealed court records.

Here are some of the more policy-oriented assertions by both candidates, fact-checked.

Herschel Walker: Warnock "voted with Biden 96% of the time."

This is accurate.

A regularly updated tally by shows Warnock voting with President Joe Biden’s position 96.4% of the time. That’s a high level of support, though it ranks in the lower one-third of the Democratic caucus. Most Democrats and most Republicans tend to cluster together in their vote patterns, with few Democrats breaking with Biden and Republicans rarely supporting Biden. 

Raphael Warnock: The child tax credit passed under Biden "has helped 97% of the families with children who are living in poverty."

This is Half True

Warnock cited pre-implementation estimates of how many families would benefit from the tax credit, but he framed the 97% success rate as something that had already been accomplished. 

Post-implementation analyses suggest that the success rate could be closer to 75% or 80%. That would have helped a lot of eligible families, but it’s short of the figure Warnock cited.

Warnock: "Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die (from maternal mortality) even when they have the insurance and the income."

This is Mostly True.

Studies have shown this type of disparity, but without controlling for income or insurance status. We were unable to find any studies that controlled for those two factors.

However, a 2019 study came close. It didn’t look at income specifically, but at educational attainment. It found that for women who had attended college or earned a college degree — a statistic that often correlates with income and insurance coverage — the Black-white differential ranged from 3.5 to 5.2 times, which is in line with what Warnock said.

Walker: "Right now people have coverage for health care. It’s a question of what type of health care do you want. Because if you have an able-bodied job, you’re going to have health care."

This is inaccurate.

Although millions of Americans do secure health insurance through an employer, "not all workers are offered employer-sponsored coverage or, if offered, can afford their share of the premiums," according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that studies health care policy. Overall, the foundation says, "most people who are uninsured are nonelderly adults and in working families."

According to the foundation: 7.9% of families with two full-time workers are uninsured, 11.2% of families with one full-time worker are uninsured, and 15.5% of families with only part-time workers are uninsured.

Walker: "I tell anyone out there suffering from any type of mental illness, ‘You can get help. All you’ve got to do is ask."

Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for lower-income Americans, covers mental health care, as do the plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. 

However, uninsured Americans may have trouble accessing mental health care, at least on a continuing basis.

Walker: Warnock "called police thugs, then cut their funding."

This is Mostly False.

Warnock, in a sermon, said police in Ferguson, Missouri, were manifesting their power in thuggish behavior. He was referring to a Justice Department report that said Ferguson police disproportionately targeted Black people with fines and penalties. Warnock in his sermon also referred to police violence in Selma in 1965. Warnock did not apply the word "thugs" to all police officers.

Warnock has not "cut" police funding. He sponsored a bill to help small police departments hire and keep officers. He also voted for the American Rescue Plan, which provided billions of dollars to states and local jurisdictions to invest in police departments and other efforts to secure communities.

Walker: Biden and Warnock "are spending $1.5 billion on ‘urban forestry’ and raising taxes on those making under $200k to pay for it."

This is Half True.

Walker is correct about the amount being spent on efforts to add more trees in cities. The Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden includes $1.5 billion to plant more trees and fund related activities, especially in low-income neighborhoods that tend to have fewer trees than wealthier areas. 

However, Walker exaggerated when he said the bill will "raise taxes" on middle- and lower-income Americans. Analyses that reached that conclusion looked only at the tax provisions in the bill. The spending provisions could offset those increases, or surpass them, by saving Americans money on green improvements, Affordable Care Act premiums and prescription drug costs.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Walker misled about "personally treating 4,500 veterans per year," about "graduating from college" and about "working in law enforcement."

We rated this True.

Walker has misrepresented his experience and credentials. He incorrectly said he treated 4,500 veterans. Walker did not graduate from college or work in law enforcement, contrary to his claims.

Citizens for Sanity: Biden and Democrats "send a fortune to Ukraine but nothing for our children."

This is Pants on Fire.

On a largely bipartisan basis, Congress has approved roughly $66 billion in assistance to Ukraine. 

By comparison, proposals supported by Biden and that won support of only Democrats in Congress spent $482 billion on behalf of U.S. children in 2021. 

An expansion of the child tax credit paid out $92 billion to U.S. families with children, or 1.5 times the amount the U.S. has spent so far on the war in Ukraine.

RELATED: Fact-checking the Georgia Senate debate between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker

RELATED: Raphael Warnock's record on the Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: Herschel Walker's record on the Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: All our fact-checks about Georgia

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