McConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.
Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) waded into the Georgia Senate race on Wednesday, endorsing former football star Herschel Walker for the GOP nomination to take on Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) next year.

“I am happy to endorse Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” McConnell said in a statement. “Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate. I look forward to working with Herschel in Washington to get the job done.”

McConnell’s endorsement came two days after the No. 2 Senate Republican, Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), announced his support for Walker.

So far, four other Senate Republicans have endorsed Walker’s campaign: Sens. Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).  

Walker, a former running back for the University of Georgia who had a lengthy NFL career, entered the Georgia Senate race in August after months of prodding by former President Trump. Since then, he’s shot to the front of the pack of Republicans running to take on Warnock in 2022. 

Walker’s entrance into the Georgia Senate race at first worried some Republican leaders, who feared that his political inexperience, as well allegations of an erratic past, could haunt his campaign and jeopardize the GOP’s chances of recapturing control of the Senate next year.

But many Republicans have come around in recent months, believing that Walker offers them their best chance of ousting Warnock next year. 

The Georgia Senate race is among the closest-watched and most competitive of the 2022 midterm cycle. Warnock won his seat earlier this year in a hard-fought runoff election against former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). 

That win, combined with Sen. Jon Ossoff’s (D-Ga.) victory in a separate runoff against former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), helped Democrats clinch their narrow majority in the Senate.

Tags 2022 midterm elections David Perdue Donald Trump Endorsement Georgia politics Georgia Senate race Herschel Walker John Thune Jon Ossoff Josh Hawley Kelly Loeffler Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Raphael Warnock Roger Marshall Steve Daines
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