Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, has entered the race for U.S. Senate.
A three-minute video released Thursday tells Warnock’s story of growing up in public housing projects in Savannah, Georgia, his reliance on low-interest loans and Pell Grants to study at Morehouse College, earn a Ph.D. and since 2005 occupy King’s former pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
“I realize that a kid who grows up in the projects today and struggling families across Georgia have it harder now than I did back then,” Warnock said.
“I think Georgia is ready to stand up for the family who has tried to do everything right, but when they receive one bad medical diagnosis, they realize that the cost of being sick is too much,” he said. “Ready to fight for the dignity of workers who are paid too little and pushed aside as government works for Wall Street corporations.”
Warnock is running against Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a political newcomer appointed in December to succeed Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned mid-term due to declining health. Also vying in the open special election is Rep. Doug Collins, a regular on Fox News and one of leading defenders of President Donald Trump.
Warnock graduated from Morehouse College cum laude in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He holds both master’s degrees and a Ph.D. degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Warnock is active in the Progressive National Baptist Convention. In 2015 he spoke at a summit for the New Baptist Covenant, a group promoting racial unity spearhead by former President Jimmy Carter. In 2017 Warnock gave the keynote address at a New Baptist Covenant luncheon at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Atlanta.
Warnock has also provided leadership in the Children’s Defense Fund, an advocacy group inspired by the Civil Rights Movement founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman.
“Some might ask why a pastor thinks he should serve in the Senate,” Warnock said in the campaign video. “Well, I’ve committed my whole life to service and helping people realize their highest potential.”
“I’ve always thought that my impact doesn’t stop at the church door,” he said. “That’s actually where it starts, and I love this country. I believe that what makes America so great is that we’ve always had a path to make it greater, greater for people like the ones I have counseled at my church and others like them across this state.”