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Ex-Florida congressman once Marco Rubio’s roommate arrested over Venezuela probe

Ex-Florida congressman once Marco Rubio’s roommate arrested over Venezuela probe

A former Miami congressman – and Sen. Marco Rubio’s former roommate – was arrested by federal authorities Monday on charges of money laundering and representing a foreign government without registering. The allegations come in connection to a $50 million consulting contract David Rivera signed with Venezuela’s socialist government. Rivera, a Republican who has been marred by scandals stretching back to his days in Congress from 2011 to 2013, was arrested in Atlanta, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.The eight-count indictment alleges Rivera at the start of the Trump administration was part of a conspiracy to lobby on behalf of Venezuela to lower tensions with the U.S., resolve a legal dispute with a U.S. oil company and end U.S. sanctions against the South American nation — all without registering as a foreign agent.The indictment alleges that from 2017 to 2018, Rivera and Miami-based political consultant Esther Nuhfer tried to lobby members of Congress and the White House on behalf of Venezualan President Nicolás Maduro, the New York Times reported. It cites meetings in Washington, New York and Dallas that Rivera either attended or tried to set up for allies of Maduro with U.S. lawmakers and a top aide to former President Donald Trump. BIDEN ADMINISTRATION GIVES MADURO REGIME LIFELINE AS VENEZUELANS CRY FOUL 
Then-Florida Republican Congressional candidate David Rivera speaks on Nov. 2, 2010, in Coral Gables, Fla. 
(AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)The Venezuelan government allegedly paid Rivera at least $23.75 million from the $50 million contract for his lobbying efforts. Around the time Rivera was hired, Maduro’s administration was seeking to court the Trump White House, donating $500,000 to his inaugural committee through Citgo. But the outreach effort ultimately failed, as Trump in 2019 recognized opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader and imposed stiff oil sanctions on the OPEC nation in a bid to unseat Maduro.To hide the sensitive nature of his work, prosecutors allege Rivera referred to Maduro in chat messages as the “bus driver,” a congressman as “Sombrero” and millions of dollars as “melons.”While none of the U.S. officials are named, evidence in a parallel lawsuit brought against Rivera shows that while working for Venezuela, the former congressman was in contact with Rubio, a longtime friend who helped drive the Trump administration’s hardline policy against Maduro.
Republican Congressional candidate David Rivera is greeted by supporters as he campaigns at an early voting site on October 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida. 
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Before being elected to Congress, Rivera was a high-ranking Florida legislator, serving from 2003 to 2010 in the House. During that time, he shared a Tallahassee home with Rubio, who eventually became Florida’s House speaker.Rivera is accused of attempting to set up a possible flight and meeting on the jet of a pro-Maduro businessman for a female campaign adviser turned White House “counselor” on June 27, 2017 — the same day Trump aide Kellyanne Conway was in Miami for a fundraising dinner with Miami Republicans, according to the Associated Press. 
Florida State House of Representatives Speaker Marco Rubio, left, and David Rivera work the phones for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in Windham, New Hampshire, Sunday, January 6, 2008.  
(Christopher Kezer/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)He also allegedly roped in Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas to try and set up a meeting for Venezuela’s foreign minister with executives from Exxon, which was headquartered in Sessions’ district at the time. In July 2017, the indictment alleges Rivera wrote text messages to the unnamed U.S. senator ahead of a key meeting at the White House, saying he hoped the lawmaker would discuss with Trump a possible deal to end Venezuela’s never-ending political conflict.”Remember, US should facilitate, not just support, a negotiated solution,” he wrote. “No vengeance, reconciliation.”More than two years ago, it emerged that Rivera received the massive contract from a U.S. affiliate of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company as Maduro was trying to curry favor with the Trump White House.Rivera’s Interamerican Consulting was sued in 2020 by PDV USA — a Delaware-based affiliate of Venezuelan-owned Citgo — for not living up to the contract he signed in 2017 for three months of “strategic consulting.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks to his supporters during an election-night party on November 8, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Rubio faced a challenge from Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla. 
(Saul Martinez/Getty Images)Although Rivera’s contract was originally signed with a U.S. entity, any work he performed on behalf of Maduro’s government or Venezuelan business interests required him to register as a foreign lobbyist.It was something prosecutors allege Rivera acknowledged himself in October 2017 when he sent a text message relaying a lawyer’s advice not to get anywhere near parent company PDVSA in Caracas and that failure to stay away “would be a scandal of monumental proportions.” Three weeks later, prosecutors say he received a $5 million payment from PDVSA’s account at Gazprom Bank in Russia.CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPRivera, 57, has maintained his innocence and has countersued PDV USA, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment for its failure to pay the $30 million he says he is still owed. The U.S. Marshals Service said Rivera bailed out of jail Monday afternoon after making an initial appearance in Atlanta federal court.The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Senate Republicans, stuck in minority, frown on House GOP calls for impeachment against Biden, Mayorkas

Senate Republicans, stuck in minority, frown on House GOP calls for impeachment against Biden, Mayorkas

As House Republicans prepare to take over the chamber in January, the fiercest opponents of the Biden administration in the party’s conference have demanded impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other top officials. But Senate Republicans are reportedly not keen on the effort, which they view as doomed to fail or without merit in the first place. Several Republican senators told Politico on Tuesday they haven’t seen evidence of an impeachable offense by Mayorkas or hadn’t considered the matter, downplaying expectations for what a divided Congress can achieve with Democrats in control of the Senate. “Someone has to commit a high crime or misdemeanor for that to be a valid inquiry. I haven’t seen any accusation of that nature whatsoever,” said Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who was the only Republican senator to vote twice to convict former President Trump during his impeachment trials. “There are a lot of things I disagree with … but that doesn’t rise to impeachment,” Romney said. Firebrand conservatives in the House have for years argued that Mayorkas is responsible for what they assert is the Biden administration’s unlawful failure to secure the southern border. The House Judiciary Committee, under the incoming leadership of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is set to launch an investigation into the border crisis with an eye toward impeaching Mayorkas. House conservatives view the effort as necessary to keep their campaign promises to hold the Biden administration accountable. MCCARTHY CALLS ON MAYORKAS TO RESIGN OR FACE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland” on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy)”He lies under oath. He says he’s got operational control of the border, he says the border is secure,” Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, told reporters last week. Babin suggested that most House Republicans were on board with an impeachment effort, calling alleged mismanagement of the border a “national security” issue. Facing pressure from the right, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has called on Mayorkas to resign or face investigations in the House, even an impeachment inquiry.  But Senate Republicans close to leadership don’t seem to be paying any mind to what the House does. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Politico he “hadn’t really given any thought” to impeaching President Biden or a cabinet official like Mayorkas. Like Romney, he said he hadn’t seen evidence of misconduct that would be an impeachable offense. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the No.2 Republican in the Senate, called the situation at the border a “debacle” and said Republicans should conduct “oversight” but declined to support an impeachment effort. “I think there is a legitimate need for oversight … but, I mean, I think it needs to be focused on some specific areas,” Thune said.HOUSE GOP PUTS MAYORKAS, DHS ON NOTICE: GIVE ‘UNFETTERED COOPERATION’ OR BE COMPELLED TO TESTIFY
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 16: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) leaves the Senate floor after voting yes on a procedural vote on federal legislation protecting same-sex marriages, at the U.S. Capitol on November 16, 2022 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, each gave statements to Politico that were dismissive of a House-led impeachment effort. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office did not respond to Politico’s questions on the matter. There are some GOP senators who favor impeachment. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sent a letter to Mayorkas in October condemning him for “dereliction of duty” and warning that “violation of your oath of office” could provide “grounds for impeachment.” However, a Republican minority in the Senate virtually guarantees that any impeachment effort from the House will fail. And there’s no guarantee it would advance in the House anyway. HHS ‘KNOWLINGLY’ TRANSFERRED MIGRANT CHILDREN TO CRIMINALS, SEX TRAFFICKERS, GOP SENATORS CHARGE
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during an April 2022 House hearing
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)”The failure to win the Senate hurts a lot and the [House] margin makes a difference,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., acknowledged to Fox News last month. “A lot of the people that put us in the majority are from relatively moderate seats.”To impeach a federal official, the House must first pass a resolution presenting its case for what crime or misconduct was committed that requires removal from office, which can pass with a simple majority vote. After the House vote, the Senate sits on trial and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe House requires a minimum of 218 votes to pass bills or advance an impeachment effort. Republicans hold just 222 seats, meaning they can only afford to lose five votes in an attempt to pass an impeachment resolution. Fox News’ Haris Alic contributed to this report.

Biden gets raked over the coals for dismissing border visit: ‘Head in the sand’

Biden gets raked over the coals for dismissing border visit: ‘Head in the sand’

President Biden is facing vicious criticism after saying he had “more important things” to do in Arizona than visit the border on Tuesday.Both Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Border Patrol Union raked the president over the coals for the comments, saying he is not doing his job and is instead burying “his head in the sand.” The crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has only grown more severe under Biden’s administration, with border crossings breaking new records each month.Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, lambasted the president for never having visited the southern border in comments to Fox News on Tuesday.”How the hell would he know? He’s never been to the border,” Roy told Fox News’ Caroline McKee. “It sure is something that’s pretty critically important to the people of Texas and frankly to the immigrants that are getting abused and dying. Fifty-three in a tractor-trailer San Antonio, getting raped in stash houses in South Texas.”TEXAS BORDER PATROL STOPS WRONG-WAY DRIVER DURING HUMAN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT; SUSPECT ESCAPES
YUMA, ARIZONA – AUGUST 06: Immigrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the border from Mexico, with the U.S.-Mexico border barrier in the background, on August 6, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona. 
((Photo by Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images))
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 14: Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) speaks with reporters as he arrives to a House Republican Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building on November 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. Tomorrow House Republicans will hold elections for leadership positions for the 118th congress. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) 
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)”Or how about the 72,000 people who died from fentanyl last year? The moms that I have to talk to you every day who’s lost a loved one because fentanyl is pouring into our border because he refuses to secure the southern border,” he continued. “And, you know, poking his head in the sand isn’t gonna actually be enough because he’s gonna have to do something about it.”National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd echoed Roy’s tone, saying Biden “cares more about politics than our children.”TEXAS OFFICIALS STOP AIRPLANE HUMAN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT; ONE MIGRANT ALLEGEDLY PAID $11,000″Nothing is more important than the safety and security of the American people, but to President Biden it is an afterthought,” Judd told Fox News’ Bill Melugin. “With a record number of people and drugs, including deadly fentanyl, crossing our border illegally and evading apprehension, it is apparent Biden cares more about politics than our children, friends and neighbors. Biden’s record clearly proves he cares about politics, not about doing his job of protecting American lives.”The White House defended Biden in a statement to Fox News Digital and suggested that Roy has refused to cooperate with the administration on efforts to address the border.”The President was clear that his top priority is investing in the American economy and in American communities, out-competing China, and bringing back American jobs from overseas. In fact, as Fox News’ own analysis showed, the economy is the top issue for most Americans,” a White House spokesman said. “If anyone believes that shouldn’t be the President’s top priority too, they should say that out loud.””President Biden is focused on real solutions, not political stunts. And if border security is such a top priority for Republican officials, voting against President Biden’s request for record funding for the Department of Homeland Security, as Representative Roy did, is an odd way to show it,” the White House added.
Immigration is at the top of the ticket this November as a record number of illegal immigrants continue to cross the border.  
(John Moore/Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a rally hosted by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at Richard Montgomery High School on August 25, 2022 in Rockville, Maryland.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Biden is in Arizona on Tuesday to visit Taiwan’s TSMC computer chip manufacturing facility in the state.The U.S. has seen record levels of illegal immigration throughout the Biden administration. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 230,000 border encounters in October alone, an all-time monthly record that broke the previous record set in September.September data revealed that fiscal year 2022 ended with 2,378,944​ migrant encounters, the highest ever recorded in a fiscal year. That figure does not include the 599,000 ​known “gotaways” that CBP sources told Fox News evaded capture over the same period.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe Biden administration has repeatedly sought to dismiss border surges as a yearly pattern. While the southern border has seen a pattern of increases in migration each spring, the surges in both 2021 and 2022 far outpaced previous years, and that pace only escalated throughout the year.

Dems in several states push measures to lower voting age to 16

Dems in several states push measures to lower voting age to 16

Democrats in several U.S. jurisdictions are looking to lower their local voting age to 16, as data shows younger voters are more likely to support their party.According to the Washington Examiner, lawmakers in Boston, Mass. and Culver City, Calif. are supporting measures to let younger residents vote in local elections, at the same time that a Virginia delegate is pushing for the same across the entire state. An amendment to the state constitution would let 16-year-olds throughout the state vote in local contests.”Notwithstanding the requirement that a voter shall be eighteen years of age, any person who is sixteen years of age or older and is otherwise qualified to vote shall be permitted to register to vote and to vote in local elections,” the Virginia amendment would say, according to House Joint Resolution 459. The resolution was introduced by Democrat Del. Sam Rasoul in November to be considered during next year’s legislative session.Last week, the Boston City Council voted 9-4 to allow 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections. If Mayor Michelle Wu signs off on it, it will go to the state legislature for a vote. 
‘Vote Here’ sign is seen at a Michigan voting precinct the day before Michigan Democrats and Republicans choose their nominees to contest November’s congressional elections, which will determine which party controls U.S. House of Representatives for next two years, in Birmingham, Michigan, U.S. August 1, 2022. REUTERS/Emily Elconin
(REUTERS/Emily Elconin)The measure calls for a separate voter registration form and a separate list for those under 18.”While there is often the narrative that young people are the leaders of tomorrow, young people play an equally important role in our democracy today and deserve a vote that reflects their contributions to our City,” the petition says, adding that there are young people who can pay taxes but have no say in how the money is spent, and can be tried as adults but are otherwise considered minors.In Culver City, Measure VY called for residents aged 16 and 17 to be able to vote in city and school board elections. The measure was on the ballot in November’s election, and as of Tuesday, it appeared to have failed by just 16 votes, according to the Los Angeles County election website.Elsewhere in California, 16-year-olds had already secured the right to vote locally but were disenfranchised in November’s election. According to the Washington Post, a supermajority of voters in Oakland approved the change in 2020, only for officials in Alameda County not to implement it or a similar measure that passed in Berkeley in 2016. In Oakland, 67% of voters supported the change, as did 70% in Berkeley. Nevertheless, the county failed to take the necessary actions to allow the younger residents to vote. Deputy Registrar Cynthia Cornejo told online publication EdSource that it was a time issue.”In a perfect world, this would be easy to implement. But we want to make sure we do it right,” Cornejo said. “I completely understand how frustrated people are. We all hoped this would be done sooner.”Some Democrats in Congress have supported the idea of lowering the voting age nationwide. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., proposed legislation in 2021 to lower the age to 16, but it was unsuccessful.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”A sixteen-year-old in 2021 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2021 challenges, 2021 hardships, and 2021 threats,” Pressley said in a statement at the time. “Now is the time for us to demonstrate the courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day sixteen and seventeen-year-old.”

Biden flees East Coast as Georgia votes in critical Senate runoff election

Biden flees East Coast as Georgia votes in critical Senate runoff election

President Biden hopped on long flight to Arizona Tuesday as Georgia was hosting a Senate runoff election that will determine whether the Senate remains in a 50-50 split, or whether Democrats hold 51 seats.The president did not make a single appearance with Sen. Ralph Warnock, D-Ga., over the last month as he fends off a challenge from Republican nominee Herschel Walker. As Georgians went to the polls to vote Tuesday, Biden opted for a tour of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plant in Phoenix to tout the $52 billion CHIPS Act he signed in August, which provided tens of billions of dollars in new federal funding for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.RACE FORECASTER SHIFTS GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF RACE FROM TOSS-UP TO LEANS DEMOCRATIC
President Biden will be in Arizona as Georgians cast their vote in the runoff election for U.S. Senate.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)When asked last week why he has not appeared with Warnock in Georgia, Biden noted that he fundraised for the senator at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event in Boston.”I’m going to Georgia today to help Sen. War – not to Georgia – I’m going to help Sen. Warnock by doing a major fundraiser up in Boston,” the president said Friday.Democrats have a 50-49 majority in the Senate pending the Georgia election, and while Biden has not appeared with Warnock, former President Obama has campaigned with him. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted on Monday that the midterm election showed that voters support Biden and his agenda.”They want us to continue to fight for their freedoms,” she said Monday. “They want us to continue to fight for democracy. And, you know, that red wave never happened.”WARNOCK STILL WON’T SAY IF HE SUPPORTS ANY ABORTION LIMITATIONS JUST ONE DAY BEFORE GEORGIA RUNOFF
President Biden will visit a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plant in Arizona Tuesday as Georgia votes in a runoff Senate election.
(The Image Direct for Fox News Digital)Biden has yet to visit the border as president and will not do so in his Tuesday trip to Phoenix, which is less than 100 miles away from the Mexican border. The president said Tuesday prior to his flight that there are “more important things going on” than the border, where there is a record number of encounters with migrants this year.Jean-Pierre said the president is focused on bipartisan issues like the CHIPS Act and said Republicans who visit the border are “doing political stunts.”HERSCHEL WALKER SAYS GEORGIA’S RECORD SENATE RUNOFF VOTER TURNOUT ‘LOOKS GOOD FOR ME’
President Biden’s Arizona trip will not include a visit to the southwestern U.S. border.
(Jaob King/Pool Photo via AP)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”We’re asking for Republican officials to come and work with us and let’s have a bipartisan agreement on immigration, instead of doing political stunts, instead of doing what they’re doing: going to the border, not actually coming up with any real ideas about that,” Jean-Pierre said Monday.

Biden pushes solar, wind projects on western land owned by the government

Biden pushes solar, wind projects on western land owned by the government

The Biden administration is looking to aggressively expand the production of solar and wind energy facilities in western states, where the federal government owns and controls hundreds of millions of acres of land.The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it is working on a new plan to accelerate “responsible solar energy development” on federally owned land and has already started reviewing three proposed solar projects in Arizona.The federal government owns about 28% of all U.S. land, and that ownership is heavily concentrated western states. It owns more than half of the land in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Alaska and Oregon. Officials cited threats stemming from climate change as the reason to develop more solar and wind projects, and said building these facilities in western states is seen as part of the government’s stewardship of the land it owns.WHITE HOUSE TO STUDY RELEASING AEROSOLS INTO THE ATMOSPHERE TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE
President Biden is looking to rapidly expand the production of wind and solar facilities in western states.
(iStock, Getty Images)”Our review of these proposed projects in Arizona, and a new analysis of the role public lands can play in furthering solar energy production, will help ensure we keep the momentum going to build a clean energy future, lower costs for families and create robust conservation outcomes on the nation’s lands and waters,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.”We take seriously our responsibility to manage the nation’s public lands responsibly and with an eye toward the increasing impacts of the climate crisis. The power and potential of the clean energy future is an undeniable and critical part of that work,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior Laura Daniel-Davis.The three solar projects in Arizona will be built on nearly 8,000 acres of federally owned land, and BLM said it is in the process of looking at 65 other “utility-scale onshore clean energy projects” that have been proposed. “This includes solar, wind and geothermal projects, as well as interconnect gen-tie lines that are vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land,” the Interior Department said.GRETA THUNBERG JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST SWEDISH GOVERNMENT ALLEGING ‘INSUFFICIENT’ CLIMATE POLICIES
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said federally owned land will have an important role to play as the Biden administration expands green energy projects.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)BLM is also starting preliminary reviews of more than 100 applications for solar and wind projects on government-owned land.In preparation for more projects, BLM said it would soon propose updates to an environmental impact statement (EIS) on solar energy development in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. That EIS statement was aimed at guiding “responsible solar development” in western states, and the update is looking at adding additional states.MOTHER FRETS HER OWN DAUGHTER IS ‘BAD FOR THE EARTH’ IN WASHINGTON POST ANALYSIS PIECE
Bureau of Land Management announced new solar projects in Arizona, and said dozens of others are currently being considered.

High stakes in Herschel Walker-Raphael Warnock Senate battle in Georgia’s runoff showdown

High stakes in Herschel Walker-Raphael Warnock Senate battle in Georgia’s runoff showdown

The Senate majority has already been decided, but whether the Democrats grab some breathing room in their razor-thin control of the chamber is on the line Tuesday in the last ballot box showdown of the 2022 midterm elections.For a second straight cycle, the final fight is taking place in the crucial southeastern battleground state of Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is facing off with Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Senate runoff election.In the final hours before Election Day, both campaigns were trying to energize their base voters in a race where turnout will be the deciding factor in what public opinion polling indicates is a close contest.”Everyone who hasn’t voted, get out on Dec. 6 and vote,” Walker urged in an interview on the Fox News Channel on Sunday. “If you want a change, go out and vote and vote your opinion because this race is very, very, important.”BIDEN AND TRUMP HELP WARNOCK, WALKER, BY STAYING OUT OF GEORGIA
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), right, and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) wave to students before speaking at a Dawgs for Warnock rally at the University of Georgia Dec. 4, 2022 in Athens, Georgia.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)Warnock, speaking to supporters Monday in Atlanta, emphasized that, “we cannot let our foot off the gas. We got to press all the way through the finish line. We got to run through the tape. So, if you haven’t already voted, tomorrow is the last opportunity to vote.”On the final day of campaigning, it was all about location, with Walker making several stops in the mostly conservative northern part of Georgia, while Warnock stayed in the heavily Democratic Atlanta area.WALKER SAYS EARLY VOTING RECORD TURNOUT ‘LOOKS GOOD’ FOR MENearly two million Georgians cast ballots in early voting that concluded Friday, according to state officials. Democrats aggressively pushed for their supporters to get to the polls to give Warnock a head start ahead of Election Day. Democrats point to early voting data that indicates high turnout in blue counties and congressional districts. “I’m heartened by the turnout we’ve seen. But we remain focused. We need people to show up tomorrow,” Warnock said on Monday.Part of Warnock’s full court press included a large rally late last week in Atlanta with former President Obama, who returned to Georgia for the second time in five weeks to give the senator a boost.
Former President Obama, left, speaks during a campaign rally for Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Obama returned to Georgia to campaign for Warnock in the closing days of the runoff election with Republican Herschel Walker.
(Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)With the Democrats secured in their control of the Senate and the chamber’s majority no longer on the line in the runoff election – unlike two years ago when the Democrats sweep of the twin Georgia Senate runoffs gave them the majority – there is a concern that Democratic voters will not feel the urgency to head to the polls. However, the former president pointed out that a Warnock victory would allow the party to control committees and advance legislation and nominations more easily to the Senate floor.”What’s the difference between 50 and 51? The answer is a lot,” Obama highlighted. “Let me break it down for you. An extra senator gives Democrats more breathing room on important bills. It prevents one person from holding out everything.”OBAMA TAKES AIM AT WALKER AS HE RALLIES WITH WARNOCK IN GEORGIA RUNOFF”It also puts us in a better position a couple of years from now when you’ve got another election. But then the Senate map is going to be tilted in favor of Republicans and it’ll help prevent them from getting a filibuster-proof majority,” Obama added.There are also concerns among Republicans that with the Senate majority out of their grasp, their base voters will be deflated.
GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker holds a rally on Nov. 30, 2022 in Dalton, Georgia, ahead of the state’s Dec. 6 Senate runoff election.
(Fox News)”By putting me in the Senate, all the committees would be even,” Walker emphasized in an interview with Fox News. In a fundraising email to supporters, the former college and professional football star spotlighted that “the outcome of the Senate runoff in Georgia will – just like last election cycle – have critical national implications.”Two years ago, Warnock, the minister at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached, and now-Sen. Jon Ossoff swept Georgia’s twin Senate runoff elections, handing the Senate majority to the Democrats.This year’s runoff was necessitated after Warnock led Walker by roughly 37,000 votes out of nearly 4 million cast in November’s general election. However, since neither candidate topped 50% of the vote required by Georgia law to secure victory, the race headed to a runoff.KEMP FOCUSED ON RUNOFF AND STEERING GEORGIA BUT DOESN’T RULE OUT POTENTIAL 2026 SENATE RUNRalph Reed, the founder of the evangelical Christian Faith and Freedom Coalition and a past chair of the Georgia GOP who has been campaigning with Walker the past week, noted that “we’ve been able to explain to voters and the activists the difference between a 50-50 Senate and a 51-49 Senate.”Additionally, Reed stressed that Republican voters are fired up. “These people are mad and they want to hit somebody,” he said.Walker – a former college football legend who won a Heisman trophy and steered the University of Georgia to a national championship four decades ago – launched his Senate campaign in the summer of last year, after months of encouragement to run by former President Trump, his longtime friend.
Former college football star and current senatorial candidate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally, as former President Trump applauds in Perry, Georgia, September 25, 2021.
(REUTERS/Dustin Chambers)Thanks to his legendary status and immense and favorable name recognition in the Peach State, Walker instantly became the overwhelming front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination and basically ignored a field of lesser-known primary rivals as he easily captured the GOP nomination in May. However, Walker quickly came under fire as the general election got underway.CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS REPORTING, OPINION, ON THE GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFFWalker was heavily criticized both on the campaign trail and in ads over what Democrats call his numerous “bizarre or false statements,” and also took fire over numerous reports that he overinflated the success of his businesses and academic record. Even before he faced bombshell allegations in September and October that he had persuaded and paid for past girlfriends to have abortions — which Walker, who is a vocal opponent of legalized abortion, repeatedly denied — the candidate was forced to play defense regarding a number of other personal controversies, from the accusations of past abuse and threats against his first wife to acknowledging children he fathered out of wedlock whom he had not previously publicly mentioned, despite having criticized absent fathers for decades.
Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, left, and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock separately speak during general election night watch parties on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Atlanta. 
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson | AP Photo/John Bazemore)Democrats once dominated elections in Georgia, but the Peach State was reliably red the past two decades, until President Biden narrowly captured the state in the 2020 election, followed by Ossoff and Warnock’s razor-thin victories two months later in the Senate runoffs.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHowever, Republicans swept this year’s statewide elections in Georgia, led by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp’s comfortable victory over Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 showdown.