Herschel Walker lands pivotal GOP endorsement in 2022 Senate bid in Georgia
There had been loads of considerations and questions over a Herschel Walker Senate candidacy over the summer time, when the previous soccer star with some potential political baggage was mulling a run in Georgia, a key battleground state the GOP hopes to flip from blue to pink in subsequent 12 months’s midterm elections.
But quick ahead a few months, and Republican leaders are beginning to rally round Walker, a powerful ally and surrogate of former President Trump who’s working in a race which will decide if the GOP wins again the bulk within the Senate within the 2022 elections.
“I am proud to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” Sen. John Thune, the number-two Senate Republican, mentioned on Monday as he endorsed Walker.
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The Senate GOP whip and longtime lawmaker from South Dakota had voiced reservations about Walker’s candidacy earlier this 12 months, however in his assertion backing the frontrunner for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia, Thune emphasised that “Herschel Walker is a fighter, a uniter, and a proven winner with the ability to bring Republicans together to win in November.” Thune turns into the primary of the six-member GOP Senate management workforce to again Walker.
Walker, a former skilled and school soccer star working again who received a Heisman Trophy and helped propel the University of Georgia to a nationwide championship, launched his Senate marketing campaign in August after months of assist and encouragement to run from Trump, his longtime good friend.
His announcement got here amid considerations from Republicans in Georgia and on Capitol Hill over the first-time candidate’s means to win an important seat for the GOP.
Among the considerations was that Walker is untested underneath hearth on the marketing campaign path and has not made it clear the place he stands on many key points. And these not on board with Walker’s candidacy spotlighted that Walker comes with loads of potential political baggage that might give his opponents ammunition — his well-documented struggles with a psychological sickness referred to as dissociative id dysfunction, accusations by his ex-wife of being “physically abusive,” and reports that he exaggerated the success of a meals companies firm that he owns.
The 59-year previous Walker has discounted such considerations however so far has run a rigorously scripted marketing campaign as he goals to problem Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock subsequent 12 months.
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Walker was shortly endorsed by Trump, which alongside together with his large identify recognition in Georgia boosted him to frontrunner standing within the GOP nomination race. And in the case of fundraising, Walker sprinted out of the gates, hauling in $3.7 million from his late-August launch by way of the shut of September, which marked the top of the third quarter of fundraising.
Walker’s fundraising simply eclipsed a few of his rivals. Former financial institution government and Navy Seal veteran Latham Saddler introduced in $1 million through the third quarter, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black raised $564,000, and businessman and army veteran Kelvin King raised $340,000.
The endorsement by Thune – first reported by Politico – comes within the wake of the candidate’s fundraising haul and his current feedback pushing again towards Trump’s current feedback that Republican voters could sit out the 2022 and 2024 elections if the previous president’s repeated unfounded claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” aren’t addressed.
“That is not the right the message. Everyone has to get out and vote and we can’t look at the past,” Walker mentioned per week in the past in an interview on Fox News Radio’s “Brian Kilmeade Show.”
Republicans near longtime Senate GOP chief Mitch McConnell over the summer time privately expressed considerations whether or not Walker could be prepared for the trials of a high-profile Senate marketing campaign. But such speak from McConnell’s inside circle has appeared to dissipate, and Thune’s assist – he turns into the fifth Senate Republican to again Walker – might be a prelude to an endorsement from the Senate GOP chief.
Sources inform Fox News that Walker spoke with Thune forward of the senator’s endorsement and has had what’s been described as “a cordial conversation” with McConnell.
A longtime Georgia-based GOP advisor and veteran of Senate campaigns tells Fox News that there’s much less concern now amongst Republicans within the Peach State relating to a Walker marketing campaign.
But the advisor, who requested to stay nameless to talk extra freely, predicted “I think [the Democrats] are holding everything they have on Walker until he gets through next year’s primary and then it’s just going to be a slow drip, drip, drip kind of thing.”
“What is secretly keeping some Republicans down here up at night is what do we not know, and are there people who the Democrats can get on camera come next fall. That’s what I think could ultimately torpedo his campaign,” the advisor mentioned. “That could ultimately be a death blow.”
As Republicans purpose to win again the Senate majority they misplaced in January when the Democrats narrowly swept Georgia’s twin Senate runoff elections, they’re taking part in loads of protection, defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs, together with 5 open seats – with two of them within the essential battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
But in addition they see alternatives to flip blue seats pink in 4 states, together with Georgia. And they view Warnock as one of the vital susceptible Democrats working for reelection in 2022.
Warnock defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, by a razor-thin margin on Jan. 5, to serve the ultimate two years of the time period of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned in 2019 as a consequence of well being causes.
But defeating Warnock subsequent 12 months received’t be straightforward, as Georgia’s first Black senator has set fundraising information since taking workplace. Warnock hauled in an eye-popping $9 million within the third quarter of this 12 months, bringing his money available to roughly $17.2 million.
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