Raphael Warnock

Raphael Gamaliel Warnock (born July 23, 1969) is an American pastor and United States senator-elect from Georgia. A member of the Democratic Party, he will assume office in January 2021.[1][2]


Raphael Warnock
Warnock in August 2020
United States Senator-elect
from Georgia
Assuming office
January 2021
SucceedingKelly Loeffler
Personal details
Born
Raphael Gamaliel Warnock

(1969-07-23) July 23, 1969 (age 51)
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Oulèye Ndoye
(m. 2016; div. 2020)
Children2
EducationMorehouse College (BA)
Union Theological Seminary (MDiv, MPhil, PhD)
WebsiteCampaign website
Personal
ReligionChristian
DenominationBaptist
ChurchEbenezer Baptist Church

Warnock was the senior pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church until 2005, when he became senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He came to prominence in Georgia politics as a leading activist in the campaign to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Warnock defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler in the January 5, 2021 runoff in Georgia's 2020–21 United States Senate special election. The same day, fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won the runoff for Georgia's other Senate seat.

Warnock and Ossoff are the first Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia since 2000. Warnock will be the first African-American to represent Georgia in the Senate.[3][4] Once sworn into office, Warnock will be the junior U.S. Senator from Georgia, since he was elected to complete a Senate term that expires in 2023.[5]

Early life and educationEdit

Warnock is from Savannah, Georgia. He grew up in public housing as the eleventh of twelve children born to Verlene and Jonathan Warnock, both Pentecostal pastors.[6] His father served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he learned automobile mechanics and welding, and subsequently opened a small car restoration business where he restored junked cars for resale.[7]

Warnock graduated from Sol C. Johnson High School[8] and, having wanted to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., attended Morehouse College, from which he graduated cum laude in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.[9][10] He credits his participation in the Upward Bound program for making him college-ready, as he was able to enroll in early college courses through Savannah State University.[8][10] He then earned Master of Divinity, Master of Philosophy, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Union Theological Seminary, a school affiliated with Columbia University.[11][12][7]

Religious workEdit

In the 1990s, Warnock served as the youth pastor and then assistant pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York.[13][14] While Warnock was pastor at Abyssinian, the church declined to hire workfare recipients as part of organized opposition to then-mayor Rudy Giuliani's workfare program.[15]

In the 2000s, Warnock was senior pastor at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Warnock and an assistant minister were arrested and charged with obstructing a police investigation into suspected child abuse at a church-run camp. The charges were later dropped with the deputy state's attorney's acknowledgment that it had been a "miscommunication", adding that Warnock had aided the investigation and that prosecution would be a waste of resources.[16][17] Warnock said he was only asserting that lawyers should be present during the interviews.[18] Warnock said that he had intervened to ensure that an adult was present while a juvenile suspect was being questioned.[19]

In 2005, Warnock became senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King Jr.'s former congregation; he is the fifth and the youngest person to serve as Ebenezer's senior pastor since its founding.[8][20][21] Warnock has stated that he will continue in the post while serving in the Senate.[22]

As pastor, Warnock advocated for clemency for Troy Davis, who was executed in 2011.[23] In 2013, he delivered the benediction at the public prayer service at the second inauguration of Barack Obama.[24] In March 2019, Warnock hosted an interfaith meeting on climate change at his church, featuring Al Gore and William Barber II.[25]

Political activismEdit

 
Warnock with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in 2009.

Warnock came to prominence in Georgia politics as a leader in the campaign to expand Medicaid in the state.[26] In March 2014, Warnock led a sit-in at the Georgia State Capitol to press state legislators to accept the expansion of Medicaid offered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[27] He and other leaders were arrested during the protest.[27][28] Warnock also actively campaigned for Georgia Democrats to increase outreach to low-income communities.[29] In 2015, Warnock considered running in the 2016 election for the United States Senate seat held by Johnny Isakson as a member of the Democratic Party.[30] He opted not to run.[31][32]

From June 2017 to January 2020, Warnock chaired the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan organization focused on voter registration.[33][20]

Warnock supports expanding the Affordable Care Act and has called for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.[34][26] He also supports increasing COVID-19-relief funding.[35] A proponent of abortion rights and gay marriage, he has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood.[36][37] He opposes the concealed carry of firearms, saying that religious leaders do not want guns in places of worship.[38] Warnock has long opposed the death penalty, having advocated for death row inmate Troy Davis, who was executed in 2011 for killing a police officer despite evidence that supported his innocence.[39][40]

U.S. SenateEdit

2020–21 electionEdit

In January 2020, Warnock decided to run in the 2020 special election for the U.S. Senate seat held by Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed after Isakson's resignation.[41] He was endorsed by Democratic senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, and Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Stacey Abrams, and former presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.[42][20][43][44][45] Several players of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team Loeffler co-owns, wore shirts endorsing Warnock in response to controversial comments Loeffler made about the Black Lives Matter movement.[46]

The closing argument of Warnock's campaign focused on the $2,000 stimulus payments that he and Ossoff would approve if they were elected, giving Democrats a Senate majority.[47]

In the January 5 runoff election, Warnock defeated Loeffler with 51% of the popular vote. With this victory, he made history by becoming the first Black senator from Georgia.[48] On January 7, Loeffler conceded to Warnock.[49]

TenureEdit

CommitteesEdit

CaucusesEdit

Political positionsEdit

AbortionEdit

Warnock has described himself as a "pro-choice pastor"[50] and a strong supporter of abortion rights. He has been endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund and promised to support only judicial nominees who will uphold Roe v. Wade.[51]

In December 2020, during Warnock's Senate campaign, a group of 25 Black ministers wrote him an open letter asking him to reconsider his abortion stance, calling it "contrary to Christian teachings" and claiming abortion disproportionately affects African Americans.[52]

Capital punishmentEdit

Warnock opposes the death penalty. He unsuccessfully attempted to stop death row inmate Troy Davis's execution.[53]

Climate changeEdit

Warnock is an advocate of policies to address climate change. He has said he supports the United States rejoining the Paris Agreement, strengthening the Environmental Protection Agency, and investing more into clean energy and green infrastructure.[54]

Though Warnock has not endorsed the Green New Deal, his Senate campaign was endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, an organization that has called for sweeping changes to policy to fight climate change.[55]

HealthcareEdit

Warnock advocated for universal healthcare during a 2009 sermon.[56]

Supreme CourtEdit

Warnock twice declined to answer when asked whether he supported "packing the Supreme Court" by adding additional justices during a December 2020 debate with Loeffler.[57]

Voting rightsEdit

Warnock has pledged to vote in favor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. He has also been outspoken in working to make Election Day a federal holiday and expand early and absentee voting.[58]

Electoral historyEdit

U.S. SenateEdit

2020–21 United States Senate special election in Georgia[59]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Raphael Warnock 1,617,035 32.90
Republican Kelly Loeffler (incumbent) 1,273,214 25.91
Republican Doug Collins 980,454 19.95
Democratic Deborah Jackson 324,118 6.60
Democratic Matt Lieberman 136,021 2.77
Democratic Tamara Johnson-Shealey 106,767 2.17
Democratic Jamesia James 94,406 1.92
Republican Derrick Grayson 51,592 1.05
Democratic Joy Felicia Slade 44,945 0.91
Republican Annette Davis Jackson 44,335 0.90
Republican Kandiss Taylor 40,349 0.82
Republican Wayne Johnson (withdrawn) 36,176 0.74
Libertarian Brian Slowinski 35,431 0.72
Democratic Richard Dien Winfield 28,687 0.58
Democratic Ed Tarver 26,333 0.54
Independent Allen Buckley 17,954 0.37
Green John Fortuin 15,293 0.31
Independent Al Bartell 14,640 0.30
Independent Valencia Stovall 13,318 0.27
Independent Michael Todd Greene 13,293 0.27
Total votes 4,914,361 100.0
2021 United States Senate special election in Georgia runoff[60]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Raphael Warnock 2,288,923 51%
Republican Kelly Loeffler (incumbent) 2,195,373 49%
Total votes 4,484,296 100.0%
Democratic gain from Republican

Personal lifeEdit

Warnock married Oulèye Ndoye in a public ceremony on February 14, 2016; the couple had held a private ceremony in January.[9][61] They have two children. The couple separated in November 2019, and their divorce was finalized in 2020.[13] According to a police report, Ndoye accused Warnock of running over her foot with his car while trying to escape a heated argument about visiting relatives, but medical examiners found no signs of injury.[62] Body camera footage of a police interview during the incident was made public before the runoff election.[63]

PublicationsEdit

  • Warnock, Raphael G. (December 2013). The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety, and Public Witness. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 9780814794463. OCLC 844308880.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Walker, Amara; Morris, Jason; Kallingal, Mallika (January 8, 2021). "Brad Raffensperger intends to certify results of Georgia's Senate runoffs by January 20". CNN. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Peebles, Will (January 4, 2021). "Georgia runoff Senate races: When will we know the winners? Could there be a second runoff?". Savannah Morning News. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  3. ^ By Jonathan Martin and Richard Fausset, "Warnock beats Loeffler in Georgia Senate race: The victory is a landmark breakthrough for African-Americans in politics.", The New York Times. Published January 6, 2021. www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/warnock-beats-loeffler-in-georgia-senate-race.html. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Herndon, Astead, "Raphael Warnock’s Win Is One for the History Books: A Baptist preacher born and raised in Georgia, he will become his state’s first Black senator, breaking a barrier with distinct meaning in American politics", The New York Times. Published January 5, 2021. www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/raphael-warnock-georgia-senate.html. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  5. ^ "Guide to Legislative Process in the House". house.gov. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  6. ^ Lewis, Ricardo (February 15, 2016). "From Public Housing to the People's Pastor: Savannah native uses pulpit as platform for change". WSAV-TV. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Jealous, Ben; Shorters, Trabian (February 3, 2015). Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding. Simon and Schuster. pp. 227–. ISBN 978-1-4767-9983-4. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Clark Felty, Dana (October 6, 2006). "From Kayton Homes to King's pulpit". Savannah Morning News. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Poole, Shelia (February 16, 2016). "Ebenezer's Pastor Raphael Warnock to wed in public ceremony on Sunday". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "The Reverend Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, Ph. D." African American Heritage House. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  11. ^ McMahon, Julie (December 18, 2019). "Pastor at historic MLK Jr. church to speak at SU". The Post-Standard. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  12. ^ Woods, A. (January 30, 2020). "Who Is Raphael Warnock?: Everything To Know About Ebenezer Baptist Pastor Running For Georgia Senate". News One. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Fausset, Richard (November 1, 2020). "Can Raphael Warnock Go From the Pulpit to the Senate?". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  14. ^ King, Maya (November 19, 2020). "Republicans paint Raphael Warnock as a religious radical". Politico. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (August 4, 1997). "2 Well-Known Churches Say No to Workfare Jobs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  16. ^ "2 ministers no longer facing charges of hindering probe". baltimoresun.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  17. ^ Kertscher, Tom. "PolitiFact - No proof Warnock 'ran over' wife; obstruction case dropped". Politifact. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  18. ^ Walker, Childs; Rivera, John (August 3, 2002). "City ministers accused of obstructing abuse probe". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  19. ^ "Ministers impeded probe, police allege". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press. August 4, 2002. p. B5. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ a b c Fausset, Richard (January 30, 2020). "Citing 'Soul of Our Democracy,' Pastor of Dr. King's Church Enters Senate Race". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  21. ^ McMahon, Julie (December 18, 2019). "Pastor at historic MLK Jr. church to speak at Syracuse University". Syracuse Post Standard. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  22. ^ Dewan, Shaila (January 5, 2021). "Georgia Runoffs Live Updates: Warnock Beats Loeffler". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 6, 2021.: "Warnock has told church members that if he wins, he intends to keep his position preaching at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta[.]"
  23. ^ Dreyfuss, Joel (September 21, 2011). "Noted Reverend on Troy Davis: 'Moral Disaster'". Theroot.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  24. ^ Banks, Adelle M. (January 22, 2013). "Preachers pray for unity at National Cathedral inaugural service". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  25. ^ Atlanta, The (March 13, 2019). "The Rev. Raphael Warnock, Ebenezer Baptist Church to host interfaith meeting on climate with Al Gore, the Rev. William Barber II". The Atlanta Voice. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  26. ^ a b Bunn, Curtis (November 7, 2020). "'My ideals are driven by my faith': Raphael Warnock on his Senate runoff race". NBC News. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Atlanta's 55 Most Powerful: 51. Raphael Warnock". Atlantamagazine.com. October 1, 2015. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  28. ^ Davis, Janel (March 18, 2014). "Arrests follow protests at state Capitol". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  29. ^ "A bridge in Georgia". Facing South. The American Prospect. July 29, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  30. ^ Bluestein, Greg (August 6, 2015). "Exclusive: Pastor of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church considers U.S. Senate run". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  31. ^ Bluestein, Greg (October 2, 2015). "Pastor of MLK's church will not run for Georgia Senate seat". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  32. ^ Galloway, Jim; Bluestein, Greg; Mitchell, Tia (January 13, 2020). "The Jolt: Raphael Warnock prepares to run for Senate against Kelly Loeffler". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  33. ^ "Board chair named at the New Georgia Project". Valdosta Today. June 8, 2017. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  34. ^ Fausset, Richard (November 1, 2020). "Can Raphael Warnock Go From the Pulpit to the Senate?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  35. ^ Miao, Hannah (December 23, 2020). "Democrats seize on Trump's push for $2,000 stimulus checks for boost in Georgia Senate race". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
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  37. ^ Bluestein, Greg (May 20, 2020). "Georgia Senate: Abortion rights group backs Warnock's bid to unseat Loeffler". The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  38. ^ Eloy, Michell (March 12, 2014). "Gun Control Advocates Decry Revamped House Gun Bill". WABE. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  39. ^ Suggs, Ernie (October 7, 2020). "Profile of Raphel Warnock, candidate for George U.S. Senate". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  40. ^ Bigg, Matthew (September 20, 2011). "Clemency denied for Georgia death row inmate". Reuters News Service. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  41. ^ Bluestein, Greg (January 30, 2020). "Raphael Warnock, pastor of famed church, enters Georgia Senate race". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  42. ^ Bluestein, Greg (September 29, 2020). "Jimmy Carter backs Warnock in crowded U.S. Senate race in Georgia". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  43. ^ Arkin, James (January 30, 2020). "Stacey Abrams, Dems rally around pastor in burgeoning Georgia Senate race". Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  44. ^ "Elizabeth Warren". Facebook. June 15, 2020. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2020. As a champion for fair wages, Reverend Raphael Warnock has stood up for working families for years. I'm proud to endorse him because I know with him in the Senate, Georgians will have a leader with the courage and conviction to put working families first.
  45. ^ Nadler, Ben (September 25, 2020). "Obama endorses Warnock in crowded Georgia Senate race". Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  46. ^ Deb, Sopan (August 4, 2020). "W.N.B.A. Players Escalate Protest of Anti-B.L.M. Team Owner". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
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  48. ^ Peoples, Steve; Barrow, Bill; Bynum, Russ (January 6, 2021). "Georgia election updates: Raphael Warnock makes history with win as Democrats near control of Senate; 2nd runoff race too early to call". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  49. ^ CNN, Ryan Nobles and Caroline Kenny. "Loeffler concedes Georgia Senate runoff to Warnock". CNN. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  50. ^ [1]
  51. ^ [2]
  52. ^ [3]
  53. ^ Eugene Scott (January 6, 2021). "What you need to know about Raphael Warnock". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  54. ^ https://warnockforgeorgia.com/issues/climate/
  55. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/us/politics/georgia-senate-election-democrats.html
  56. ^ The Church and Healthcare Reform
  57. ^ [4]
  58. ^ https://warnockforgeorgia.com/issues/voting-rights/
  59. ^ "2020 General Election Official Results - US SENATE (LOEFFLER) - SPECIAL". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  60. ^ "Georgia U.S. Senate runoff results". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  61. ^ Poole, Shelia (February 16, 2016). "A look at the wedding of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Ouleye Ndoye". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020. The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Ouleye Ndoye were wed publicly on Valentine's Day at the Auburn Avenue church. They initially wed in a private ceremony last month in Danforth Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College, Warnock’s alma mater.
  62. ^ Deere, Stephen; Bluestein, Greg (March 7, 2020). "Warnock, wife involved in dispute". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  63. ^ "Warnock says he'll focus on Georgians after video of ex-wife surfaces". The Hill. December 24, 2020. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2020.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Barksdale
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Georgia
(Class 3)

2020
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Kelly Loeffler
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
Taking office 2021
Served alongside: Jon Ossoff
Elect