Herschel Walker candidate for US Senate in Georgia
US Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
Photo: Nathan Posner / Shutterstock
After considerable hesitation and much speculation, football legend Herschel Walker has officially filed for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission for a campaign to topple new US Senator from Georgia Raphael Warnock next year. The news follows reports that Walker had quietly registered to vote in Georgia after decades of living in Texas, where he had previously played with the Dallas Cowboys.
Walker’s decision is exciting news for Republicans in Georgia who are not already on the side of a potential competing candidate. But it will be especially rewarding for his longtime friend and former boss Donald J. Trump (he signed his first professional contract with Walker when he owned a USFL franchise in New Jersey). The 45th president actually took the plunge almost two months ago when he predicted Walker would join the race.
The new candidate listed his new residence in Georgia as a home in Atlanta owned by his wife, who is currently under investigation by Georgian election officials for voting in Georgia in 2020 while actually living in Texas. This incident could be a problem for her husband given her harsh comments (not to mention those from her godfather Mar-a-Lago) about alleged voter fraud in the past. And one of the Republican candidates already on the ground, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, called out Walker for not being familiar with Peach State life today.
In yesterday’s Georgia, Walker was a divine figure, hailing from the small town of Wrightsville who in 1981 led the University of Georgia Bulldogs to their only undisputed national championship and then won the Heisman Trophy as than the best college football player in the country. Known for his modest demeanor which only increased his meteoric popularity in the state, Herschel, as he is simply and universally known (at least among Georgians over 45), remained a major celebrity long afterward. hanging up his crampons. He bolstered his athletic reputation by competing in the 1992 Winter Olympics as a member of the US bobsleigh team and even had a successful stint as a mixed martial arts fighter until his fifties (he is now 59 years old).
But in a 2008 memoir revealing serious and long-standing mental illness and in subsequent revelations from people close to him, Walker gave life to those in Georgian politics who, for various reasons, did not want to see him show up. to a public office, like Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein observes:
The book “Breaking Free” … explores his diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, a condition he says he developed to combat the bullying he encountered as an overweight child with a speech impediment.
Since then, however, reports have documented the violent threats he made in 2005 against his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, which led to a judge granting him a protection order. She said she felt “there was someone out there who was evil” when he threatened her.
It remains to be seen whether this story, along with Walker’s inexperience and political stance on issues, will give the primary candidates any weight or whether it will become salient in what would be a tough competition against the busy Warnock. raising money (he had over $ 10 million in the bank at the end of June) while Walker mulled over a challenge. Besides Gary Black, two other Republicans are already on the pitch, and former Senator Kelly Loeffler (who lost to Warnock in a runoff in the January 2021 special election) could join the fray if Walker stumbles or stumbles. took of.
Very limited polls show Walker running just ahead or just behind Warnock in a general election clash. A big question is whether Walker could pull large black votes away from Warnock, who held the same Atlanta chair as Martin Luther King Jr. and is Georgia’s first black senator.
One thing Walker doesn’t have to worry about is getting outmaneuvered by an opponent, given his relationship to the man himself. But Trump may well cast a grim shadow over all of Georgia’s 2022 midterms, especially if he signs a viable challenger for Gov. Brian Kemp (as he has already found to topple Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger) in retaliation for refusing to support his big Lie about wearing Georgia last year. Whoever wins the Republican nomination for governor will likely face 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in a costly and intense grudge match. A potential Warnock-Walker race would also gain national attention as the one-off competition between two well-known black contestants in a highly competitive but polarized state, possibly making Georgia the ultimate battleground in 2022. Herschel Walker is used to it. to crush big and tough opponents. But these days, Georgia’s Democrats are seasoned veterans of some great political games.