Trump urges Herschel Walker to run for Senate in Georgia
Former President Trump is urging retired NFL star Herschel Walker to run against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia, touting a close ally in a crucial midterm election.
“Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia? He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL,” Trump said in a statement. “He is also a GREAT person. Run, Herschel, run!”
Walker, who played for various NFL teams from 1985 to 1997, has been a longtime friend of the former president following his stint with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, which Trump owned, and his days on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
The former football star has not publicly expressed any plans to run for the Senate in Georgia, but he did wade into politics during the Trump administration, mainly to hold up the then-president.
Walker mounted a full-throated defense of Trump at last year’s Republican National Convention, saying he takes “it as a personal insult that people think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist.”
“People who think that don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “Growing up in the Deep South, I’ve seen racism up close. I know what it is, and it isn’t Donald Trump.”
Trump’s endorsement of a possible bid by Walker is the latest indication he plans to lift up allies in midterm races across the country next year. He’s already backed an array of candidates, most of whom have been loyal incumbents, though he has indicated he’ll fight against Republicans who have not been supportive.
The former president has already endorsed Max Miller, a former White House aide who is mounting a primary bid against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), and he vowed over the weekend to campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Both Gonzalez and Murkowski backed Trump’s impeachment over his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
The Georgia seat held by Warnock is a top target for Republicans in their attempt to win back the Senate next year. Warnock won the seat in a special election that went to a January runoff by about 2 points and will have to run in 2022 for a full six-year term.
Democrats currently hold a 50-50 majority in the upper chamber, with Vice President Harris’s tiebreaking vote giving the party control. While the GOP is playing defense in states such as Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, it sees seats in Arizona and Georgia as its best chances to flip the one seat it needs to reclaim the Senate.
It is still unclear what affect a Trump endorsement would have in the Peach State. While his backing would likely carry great weight in what could be a crowded GOP primary, Trump’s support could be harmful in a general election. Trump lost Georgia in November by about 12,000 votes, and Republicans have in part credited the former president’s claims of election fraud with the losses of the state’s two Senate seats in the January runoffs.