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An astronomical number of voters cast their ballots early in the Georgia runoff election. In fact, as of Monday, 77,000 people who had not voted in the 2022 midterm election in November cast their ballots in the runoff.
According to NBC News and Cook Political Report, incumbent Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock has won the race against Trump-endorsed NFL veteran Herschel Walker.
The latter had been plagued with a number of scandals and ongoing mockery for bizarre statements he's made in speeches. The comments even led former President Barack Obama to needle the former Heisman Trophy winner for his urgency to talk about the vampire vs. werewolf battle Walker saw in a movie.
Republicans rushed to aid Walker in his race with small rallies outside of his bus driving around the state. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Tim Scott (R-SC), to name a few.
Toward the end, the polls had Warnock ahead of Walker but still within the margin of error. MSNBC reporters on the ground said that the lines in Democratic strongholds were mostly quiet, while conservative counties have been plagued with lines.
The ongoing question was always whether Republicans could get voters to care about the race because it would not throw the balance of power to the GOP the way it did in 2020.
The new voting law put in place did have an impact on several voters, one election official told MSNBC earlier on Tuesday that for every two voters she has to tell one person that they're in the wrong place.
Walker held back from campaigning over the Thanksgiving break, spending his time focusing on a single day at the Georgia football game.
NBC News reported Monday that Cobb County Republican Robert Trim, who won a state house seat in November, said he was supporting Walker, but he wasn't convinced Walker could win it. He compared the Walker run to ex-Sen. David Perdue's (R-GA) failed runoff in 2020, where he lost to now Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA).
“I don’t feel very confident,” Trim said. “I never have felt confident in where he’s positioned. So I’m probably less confident now than I was before.”
On Tuesday, following the conviction of the Trump Organization on over a dozen criminal offenses as part of a tax fraud scheme, Andrew Prokop wrote for Vox that former President Donald Trump has far more worrisome legal concerns headed his way.
"Two subsidiaries of the Trump Organization were found guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud and other financial crimes. The charges were specifically about whether the company properly paid taxes related to 'fringe benefits' that its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg received as part of his salary. Trump himself was not charged," wrote Prokop. "Weisselberg, who initially was charged with the company, struck a plea deal with prosecutors in August and testified at this trial, but he did not implicate Trump himself in any wrongdoing. An attorney for Trump said the company would appeal the verdict."
This result is "embarrassing" for the former president, Prokop wrote — however, it is far from the most dangerous litigation coming Trump's way.
"Trump has lately found himself in a much more dangerous legal morass, with both federal and state prosecutors building cases against him," wrote Prokop. "One enormous threat to Trump is the Justice Department’s investigation of his attempt to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. This probe ramped up in intensity over the course of this year, and dozens of Trump aides and associates are under scrutiny. Recently, Trump lost a legal battle to prevent lawyers who worked in his White House counsel’s office from testifying to a Washington, DC, grand jury."
Other major investigations against Trump include the national security investigation of classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago, and the state investigation by Atlanta prosecutor Fani Willis into the plot to overturn the Georgia election, in which Trump is considered to have serious legal exposure. Any one of these investigations could potentially lead to charges for the former president.
"Even [Alvin] Bragg’s Manhattan district attorney’s office is getting involved again, having recently refocused on the long-dormant investigation of whether Trump violated the law by secretly paying adult film actor Stormy Daniels so she wouldn’t allege an affair with him before the 2016 election," noted the report. All of which poses a far greater threat to Trump than the prosecution of his family business.
On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has confirmed he met with an indicted former Florida congressman to discuss Venezuela policy — without realizing he was working with the dictator of Venezuela.
"Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged on Tuesday through a spokesperson that he met with indicted ex-Rep. David Rivera to discuss a potential deal to normalize relations between the United States and Venezuela — but didn’t know that his one-time friend and long-time political ally was working on behalf of strongman Nicolás Maduro," reported Gary Fineout. "Rubio’s dealings with Rivera emerged Monday night after federal authorities arrested and charged the former Miami lawmaker with eight criminal counts, including money laundering, conspiracy and failing to register as a foreign agent for work allegedly connected to the Maduro regime."
"An unsealed indictment states that Rivera and an unnamed U.S. senator from Florida met in July 2017 in Washington to discuss a possible deal with Maduro in which the Venezuelan leader would agree to 'hold free and fair elections in Venezuela,'" said the report. "The senator was not identified by name, but Rivera and Rubio have known each other for years and once owned a house together in Tallahassee."
Rubio, who was recently re-elected overwhelmingly in the 2022 midterm, has spent his career publicly condemning the Venezuelan regime, which is known for political repression and the widespread starvation of its people. Many refugees of the communist South American state have settled in South Florida.
"Rivera and the senator first met to discuss Venezuela on July 9, 2017 at a private residence in D.C., according to the indictment," said the report. "The pair gathered three days later at a Washington hotel with several others, including an unidentified Venezuelan politician who attended the meeting by telephone, according to the indictment."
The Biden administration itself has recently moved forward with a plan that would ease some sanctions against Venezuela, including allowing Chevron to restart its oil business in the country, in return for Maduro resuming talks with the opposition to hold fair elections.