Georgia Senate race: Herschel Walker tries to unseat Raphael Warnock

Raphael Warnock is now seeking a full six-year term against one of the most legendary University of Georgia football players of all time

Eric Garcia
Tuesday 08 November 2022 22:49 EST
Warnock accuses Walker of pretending to be a police officer

The 2020 presidential election turned Georgia into a battleground for the first time in decades when Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton to win the state.

But the runoff Senate races that following January truly turned the spotlight on Georgia when Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won their respective races.

They became the first two Democrats to win a Georgia Senate race since 2000, when Zell Miller won a special election, and the wins also gave Democrats their precarious 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tie-breaker.

Mr Warnock beat former Senator Kelly Loeffler, whom Governor Brian Kemp nominated to finish the term of the late Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned due to health problems.

Now he is seeking a full six-year term. Mr Warnock serves as the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr Martin Luther King Jr preached and where Martin Luther King Sr was the senior pastor.

Since his election, Mr Warnock has prioritised reauthorising the Voting Rights Act, which the Supreme Court weakened in Shelby County v Holder, and scored a major victory when his policy proposal to cap insulin at $35 for Medicare recipients passed in the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats’ massive health care and climate change bill.

Conversely, Republicans nominated Herschel Walker. A former University of Georgia running back and a Heisman Trophy winner, Mr Walker helped the Bulldogs win a championship. He later joined the United States Football League, where he played for the New Jersey Generals, which was then owned by future president Donald Trump.

Afterward, Mr Walker would play for the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. Since his retirement, Mr Walker has become a rare Black conservative voice and he spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention about his friendship with Mr Trump.

After the election, Mr Trump floated the idea of Mr Walker running against Mr Warnock. But the election opened up Mr Walker to scrutiny about allegations of domestic violence against women and his run-ins with law enforcement. Mr Walker has attributed his actions to being diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder.

But he’s also come under fire for alleging that he worked as a law enforcement officer. Mr Warnock mentioned both of these things in a debate against Mr Walker last week.

“One thing I have not done I've never pretended to be a police officer,” he said. “I've never I've never threatened a shootout with the police.”

In response, Mr Walker pulled out a badge he was given.

Conversely, Mr Walker has attempted to tie Mr Warnock to Mr Biden, who has become unpopular in the state he won.

But multiple reports in The Daily Beast later corroborated by The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News that Mr Walker paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, despite the fact he opposes abortion, have rocked the campaign.

Mr Walker vehemently denied paying for the the abortion but in an interview with NBC News, acknowledged he wrote a check to his ex-girlfriend.

Polls have shown a tight race between the two candidates. On Monday, an InsiderAdvantage poll showed that Mr Warnock led Mr Walker 46 per cent to 44 per cent. The race also has a third-party candidate in Libertarian Chase Oliver.

But if no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote, Mr Warnock and Mr Walker will head into a runoff race.

The non-partisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

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