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GOP Fears Grow Over Herschel Walker As A Potential Senate Candidate

GOP Fears Grow Over Herschel Walker As A Potential Senate Candidate

Republicans are searching for a viable candidate to mount a Senate bid in Georgia next year, fearing that Donald Trump’s choice, football great Herschel Walker, would implode if he ran, which would cost the GOP a winnable seat. Walker, a Georgia native who currently lives in Texas, has yet to say whether he will run. But Trump’s public pining for his old friend has been enough to freeze some potential candidates from entering the field. While Walker is a Georgia football icon, his past and a lack of a political operation have not inspired confidence across much of the party. Three Republican candidates – Georgia agriculture commissioner Gary Black, construction firm owner Kelvin King, and Saddler – have already announced their campaigns, but none seem to be exciting the base.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested to allies that former Georgia senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler should take another look at running again after their narrow losses in January flipped the Senate to Democratic control. McConnell has privately expressed his deep concerns with Walker’s potential candidacy and met this summer with Loeffler and Perdue. He is also meeting this week with another potential candidate, former Trump national security official Latham Saddler, according to a source familiar with the situation. The source said that McConnell is likely to meet with other candidates as well.

FILE – In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Herschel Walker talks about 150 years of college football during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Day in Hoover, Ala. Walker appears to have a coveted political profile for a potential Senate candidate in Georgia. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Trump has known Walker since at least 1984, when the then-owner of the United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals gave his star running back a contract extension. Trump’s allies hope that long friendship could go a long way in helping unify the party after Trump blasted GOP officials like Gov. Brian Kemp for accepting his loss in Georgia last year. In December, Walker tweeted a video supporting Trump’s effort to overturn his loss. Trump responded, “Herschel is speaking the truth!”

Walker’s past includes threats of violence against his ex-wife, which has only increased fears in GOP circles that his unvetted past would be devastating in a high-stakes election, where control of the Senate is at stake. Walker has greatly exaggerated how much revenue his company, Renaissance Man Food Services, earns and how many people it employs. Interestingly, the GOP had no qualms when it ran a candidate with similar dubious qualities in 2016 for President, but that candidate was white.

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Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a top McConnell ally, seemed skeptical about a Walker candidacy. “All I know is what I read in the paper,” Cornyn said Wednesday. “I want to win that race, and so I want the best nominee. I don’t know whether he’s it.”


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