Election 2022

Chase Oliver, Georgia Senate Race Spoiler: 'You Can't Spoil What's Already Rotten'

As the race that may decide control of the Senate heads to a runoff, the third-party candidate is fielding criticism from both sides that he spoiled the race.


The Georgia Senate race, one of the most consequential races of the 2022 midterm elections, will go to a runoff. Proponents of the two-party system blame Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver for siphoning off votes that would've otherwise contributed to a conclusive victory for incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock or Republican candidate and former football star Herschel Walker.

Oliver received just over 2 percent of the vote; neither Walker nor Warnock exceeded the 50 percent threshold required to declare victory. Does that make Oliver a spoiler? "You can't spoil what's already rotten," he tells Reason.

"Both sides are currently blaming me for their candidate not getting over 50 percent, and not the fact that neither of their candidates could speak to over 50 percent of the electorate and get their votes."

On Election Night, Oliver retweeted multiple tweets in which Republican and Democratic voters accused him of forcing their respective candidates into a runoff.

To those voters, Oliver says, "I'm not helping one candidate or the other, because we have runoffs here in Georgia so I can't really 'spoil.' All I can do is provide voters a choice, and if nobody gets over 50 percent, they get to pick the lesser of two evils."

Warnock won his seat in a January 2021 runoff, as he and Sen. Jon Ossoff became the first two Democrats elected to the Senate from Georgia in 20 years. Now, Warnock will face Walker in a December runoff.

Walker ran considerably behind Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who ran for reelection in a rematch against his 2018 opponent, Stacey Abrams. Despite barely squeaking out a majority for his first term, Kemp prevailed Tuesday by over 8 percentage points. Walker, meanwhile, trailed Warnock by just under a point.

In the runoff, Oliver's 81,000 voters will be up for grabs. (On Election Night, Warnock led Walker by less than half that amount.) And Oliver still plans to be involved in the process: "I will be reaching out to both campaigns to host a forum, where they can come speak long-form to libertarian, independent voters and seek to earn their vote if they so choose.

"I think it's still a very wide-open race for this runoff campaign, and I think that should really implore both the major-party candidates to start reaching out and speaking to libertarian voters and their values, because that's how they're going to win this race."