Herschel Walker files paperwork to run for Senate in Georgia

Herschel Walker filed paperwork on Tuesday to run for Senate as a Republican in Georgia, delivering a clear sign that former NFL star is seeking to challenge Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockOn The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms Warnock pushes Medicaid expansion as equity issue amid Democrats' health care battle GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill MORE (D-Ga.) next year.

Walker has floated a potential Senate bid for months, prodded on by former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE, a friend of Walker's who has indicated that he is all but certain to endorse the football star in the race.

An official campaign announcement could come within days, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Walker’s highly anticipated entrance into the race makes him the most prominent challenger yet to Warnock, who narrowly won a runoff election earlier this year against former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerDraft Georgia congressional lines target McBath, shore up Bourdeaux Warnock picks up major abortion rights group's endorsement in reelection bid Trump endorses Hershel Walker for Georgia Senate seat MORE (R-Ga.). 

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Even before he filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, there were signs that Walker was likely to run. Despite living in Texas for years, Walker registered to vote in Georgia earlier this month using an Atlanta address. 

His highest-profile opponent in the Georgia GOP Senate primary so far is state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who has taken a more aggressive stance against Walker in recent weeks. He released a digital ad earlier this month taunting Walker over his looming Senate run. 

Rep. Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterTrump endorses Hershel Walker for Georgia Senate seat Herschel Walker's entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race Herschel Walker files paperwork to run for Senate in Georgia MORE (R-Ga.) previously expressed interest in running for the Senate seat in Georgia, though he has said that he would not enter the race if Walker does. Loeffler is also considering whether to run for her old Senate seat, though it’s unclear if she’ll move forward with a campaign with Walker in the race.

Despite having the early support of Trump, Walker may still face a tough race. He’s likely to face questions about reported incidents of violent behavior and he has been open about past struggles with mental illness. At the same time, he’s a newcomer to politics, having never run for public office before.

The Georgia Senate race is among the closest watched of the 2022 midterm election cycle as Democrats look to not only maintain but also expand their ultra-narrow Senate majority. Warnock and Sen. Jon OssoffJon OssoffGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Poll: Half of voters say American democracy under 'major threat' GOP's embrace of Trump's false claims creates new perils MORE (D-Ga.) delivered control of the Senate to Democrats in January when they both won runoff elections against GOP incumbents. 

President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE also carried Georgia in the 2020 election, making him the first Democrat since 1992 to win the state in a presidential contest.

Republicans are expected to contest the state aggressively next year, believing that the Democratic gains in 2020 and early 2021 can be undone, especially in a year when Democrats are playing defense. Historically, the party of a new president loses ground in midterm elections.