GOP fears Trump ally Herschel Walker can’t beat Warnock in George Senate race: report

“He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL,” Trump said in a statement.

Loading the player...

Earlier this year, former President Donald Trump called on his longtime friend, retired NFL star Herschel Walker, to run against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia. But state Republicans fear the former athlete will cost them a winnable seat.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be eyeing former Georgia senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for the Senate race, per CNN.

Herschel Walker at RNC / Getty

Walker was a football hero at the University of Georgia before his long NFL career. He’s a business owner whose chicken products are distributed across the U.S. And he’s a Black conservative with backing from Trump.

Trump said it would be “fantastic” if  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, per The Hill. “He is also a GREAT person. Run, Herschel, run!” 

Walker, 59, is a Georgia native who currently lives in Texas. As reported by The Associated Press, he has at times been open about his long struggle with mental illness, writing at length in a 2008 book about being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, once known as multiple personality disorder. But it’s unclear how he would broach this subject as a candidate.

AP also details numerous threats Walker made to his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, who obtained an order of protection from him in 2005. According to affidavits in the case, Grossman’s sister, Maria Tsettos, confirmed that Walker directly told her he would murder Grossman and her boyfriend at least three times.

According to the AP report, Walker also exaggerated the profit he was making in his food services business, for which he received a modest PPP loan. A dispute with a business associate in 2017 led that associate to say in an email that he had “concerns” about how the business was being run.

The book where he revealed his mental health issues also rattled his business partners, who said the negative publicity at first threatened the brand.

“We had all kinds of people calling in about it, and we didn’t have answers to it,” Kristin Caffey of Sysco, a food distributor, said in a deposition in 2019, per AP. “It was problematic for us being engaged with him at the time.”

Walker “certainly could bring a lot of things to the table,” Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a recent interview. “But as others have mentioned, there’s also a lot of questions out there.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn has expressed skepticism 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.”

Georgia Republican Eric Tanenblatt told CNN that while “there’s a lot of excitement among some in the base” about Walker, there’s also “a lot of unknowns” about him. 

“I think in the last couple of weeks, there have been some things reported in the media that have caused people to take pause,” Tanenblatt said.

Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker, theGrio.com
Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker (Photo: Getty Images)

According to the report, three prominent Georgia political consultants — Nick Ayers, Austin Chambers, and Paul Bennecke — met with Walker this summer but all declined to work on his Senate campaign.

According to reports, several Trump loyalists are in full support of a Black celebrity, conservative candidate against progressive Democrat Warnock, one of three current Black U.S. senators. Only one, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, is a Republican.

“He’s not the first person to struggle,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said about Walker to CNN. “I’m told he spent the last couple days at a military base helping people through PTSD problems. He’s made that sort of his life’s work.”

Graham went on to say that he would be “surprised” if Walker didn’t enter the Georgia senate race.

Walker recently spoke with FOX and said he and his family are “praying” about his run. “My family, we’re still going through this process of praying and really considering it,” he shared.

“And at the same time, I take it very serious. And people want me to decide, like, right now. And I said, ‘guys, I want to take my time because this is a very serious, serious thing.’ But I will tell you this. Hershel Walker believes in God. I believe in this country. I believe in the people. And I’m going to fight for the people of Georgia if I run so just stay tuned. And I tell you what, it’s going to be exciting.”

This story contains additional reporting from Keydra Manns and The Associated Press.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast, “Dear Culture?” Download our newest episodes now! TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...