Warnock and Ossoff urge youth to vote in Senate runoff at UGA rally

Senator Raphael Warnock campaigned with his “brother from another mother,” fellow Senator Jon Ossoff, at the University of Georgia on Sunday in an effort to convert a key constituency to Democrats: young people.

From women’s suffrage to civil rights to LGBTQIA equality, “There hasn’t been a major movement in our country without the intelligence, passion, ideas and impatience of young people,” Warnock told a crowd of about 300, mostly students, in a Miller Learning Center Auditorium.

“I stopped by not to discourage her impatience, but to wake her up,” he said. “Because that’s how change happens.”

Both senators were elected by narrow margins in the January 2021 runoff, and “Georgia State students were the ones that made the difference,” Ossoff said.

They drew a parallel between January 5, the date of last year’s runoff when voters sent Georgia’s first black and Jewish senators to Washington, and January 6, 2021, the day that, as Ossoff put it, , the US Capitol “was overrun by a violent mob bent on preventing the peaceful transfer of power.” While Ossoff won a full six-year term, Warnock was running to serve the final two years of the late Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.

Without those runoff victories, which gave Democrats control of the Senate, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson would not have been confirmed and the infrastructure and climate bills would not have passed, they said.

Warnock touted his support for Medicaid expansion and legislation he wrote to limit the price of insulin for seniors, pledging to fight for abortion rights, workers’ rights, student debt relief and Pell Grants.

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“When it comes to defending those on the fringes, I am the champion of the SEC,” he said.

Like many Georgians, the 53-year-old Savannah native grew up admiring the football exploits of his opponent Herschel Walker at UGA in the early 1980s. Walker was “an incredible football player, but now we’re in a different field and Georgia he needs a real champion,” Warnock said.

“This is real life, y’all. This is not a game. Politics is not a game,” Ossoff said. “It is life or death. Human suffering or human flourishing is at stake.”

When asked if they had already voted, most attendees raised their hands.

“If you’ve already voted, good job, your job isn’t done,” said Austin Myhre, a UGA student and president of Dawgs for Warnock, who urged them to each turn up three voters on Election Day Tuesday.

Data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office shows that voters 45 and older, a group that leans Republican, turned out in much larger numbers than the left-leaning 18-29 and 30-44 during early voting.

“I am not going to give up on the young voters of this state,” Warnock said in response.

After the UGA rally, Warnock was scheduled to visit New Freedom Christian Center, a black church on Vine Street in eastern Athens. As with young voters, black turnout on Election Day will be crucial to Warnock’s chances, with after november 6 polls showing him with only a slight advantage over Walker.

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