The pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. and his father preached, Warnock is running the best-funded — and most thoroughly covered — Democratic campaign in Georgia’s special Senate election. Earlier this summer, Warnock delivered the eulogy at the funeral of the noted civil rights leader, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. He’s been endorsed by 31 Senate Democrats and Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate. The experience he touts most often is his work as a pastor in a large and diverse congregation, and his related advocacy work in his community; Black churches in America have long been a center of political and community organizing work, and Ebenezer in particular has a storied political history.
“I see my candidacy not so much as the launch of a campaign, but as the continuation of a campaign in public service that I’ve been on my entire life,” Warnock told Facing South. “I’ve been engaged in the work of voter registration, education and mobilization for criminal justice reform, and for the dignity of workers, and the struggling families that they support. That’s been my life’s work. The only difference is that for the first time my name is on a ballot.”
The Georgia special Senate election is by no means a sure bet for Warnock. He’s leaning into his longtime identity as one of Atlanta’s most recognizable Black preachers, hoping that religion will help him appeal to moderate independents who might be skeptical of his specific positions but who he hopes will see him as a candidate with a strong moral compass.
“Left, right — this conversation, that’s how people in politics talk,” Warnock said. “You have to remember that I spent the bulk of my career in ministry, and I’m not focused on left and right as much as I’m focused on right and wrong.”
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