Hershel Walker, along with a turbulent past, enters crowded Senate race
Political watchers and Georgia voters have been on the edge of their seats for months trying to determine if he was in or was he out. After months of intense speculation, the political race for Georgia’s U.S. Senate changed with the release of a short video this week from Hershel Walker declaring he is in.
The video answered that question as it highlighted Walker’s claim to Georgia as a native son, and Georgia’s claim to Walker as a former football star at the University of Georgia. The video, combined with Walker filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, established Walker as one of several candidates vying to become the Republican nominee to take on current U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock in 2022.
In his easygoing manner, Walker said, “I’m a kid from a small town in Georgia who’s lived the American dream, and I’m ready to fight to keep that dream alive.” It is too early to determine if this video can deliver votes, but it is serving its purpose as it has people in Georgia talking about Walker.
As an untested candidate, Walker touched on petty politics and some of the concerns that most Georgians have expressed as he touted his conservative values, saying “I’m a conservative not because someone told me to be. I’m a conservative because I believe in smaller government, a strong military, personal responsibility and making sure all people have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. That’s an America worth fighting for.”
Walker enters a race with a crowded field of contenders including Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Businessman Kelvin King, and former banking executive Latham Saddler. Former Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are names that are also floating around as possible contenders.
Some political watchers feel that Walker automatically assumes the role of front-runner, but other candidates are not willing to surrender that position to Walker just yet. At least two of his fellow Republican contenders, Black and Saddler, are already taking shots at Walker. Upon hearing about Walkers entry, Black said, “This is not a run for celebrity. It’s a run for Senate and that’s why I’m in it.” Saddler meanwhile released a statement saying, “This campaign isn’t about the glories of yesterday; it’s about our nation’s future.”
Political watchers say Walker won’t have to spend much time addressing their attacks because he has the support of Former President Donald Trump, who will undoubtable serve as his mouth piece and attack dog in chief. They predict that attacks will be incoming from Trump any day now, so those throwing stones at Walker should watch out for returning missiles from Trump. This is on top of the ‘revenge tour’ Trump promised against Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who Trump personally blames for his presidential loss in Georgia. Trumps hands will be full as he promised to do whatever he can to defeat both.
The former president had been urging Walker for months to jump into the race. Now that he has declared himself a candidate, Walker can count on Trumps’ full involvement in his campaign, which must be on the minds of the others. It will surely weigh heavily on those endorsing and throwing financial support behind candidates because Trump remains intensely powerful among Georgia Republicans. Trump loyalist and infrastructure will also be something Walker can count on as he campaigns across the state. They will be taking their marching orders from Trump in this race, which may not leave much for the others to fight over.
Earlier in the year as he urged Walker to run, Trump predicted that Walker would be unstoppable and was often chanting “Run Herschel Run.” Former Congressman Buddy Carter toyed with the idea of getting into the race but feels Trumps’ support for Walker is a lock to win the primary for the first-time candidate. The day after Walker announced his candidacy, Carter formally endorsed him.
Walkers’ video talked about his roots in Wrightsville and his days at Georgia, which catapulted him into Heisman contention. After winning the coveted trophy in 1982, Walker enjoyed a career in the NFL before leaving to become a businessman.
Walker possesses name recognition and enters the race with Trump’s endorsement and the support of Trumpers, but he also enters with baggage. There is another side to this polished well-liked image that Walker must worry about that will be front and center to be exploited by others, Walker’s history of erratic behavior which has often led to violence in his tumultuous past.
Walker has not shied away from the subject and has admitted his struggles with mental illness in a book he published in 2002 entitled “Breaking Free”. Walker talks about being diagnosed with multiple personality disorder as a result of being bullied as a child because of his weight and speech impediment. He candidly recounted episodes that speak to his mental illness and past struggles including playing Russian roulette with a loaded weapon.
Bad business deals, relationships, and girlfriends gone bad (some that occurred during his marriage) have been sprinkled through the headlines as we waited for Walker to decide if he would run. One would think that a candidate with this questionable background would not stand a chance at winning, but this is the political world post Donald Trump. Trump entered a presidential race as a first-time candidate with similar baggage. He came out the other end as the winner, which proves that Walker’s past may not be something that discourages voters. With Walker in the race, he is now seen as the most prominent contender to take on Warnock.
Meanwhile, Warnock has been busy raising funds, working on issues, and crisscrossing Georgia as he touts the work he is doing in Washington. His campaign war chest now stands at $10.5 million.
As for Democrats, they are elated with Walkers’ entry to the U.S. Senate race and are counting on free for all slug fests to begin. They will watch with great interest to see who the last man standing will be in hopes that this person will be damaged beyond recognition from the infighting. The fight for this slot among Republicans will undoubtable aid Warnock. If Walker is successful, it would be history making event in Georgia and the nation as it will pit two black candidates from the two major political parties against each other for this coveted seat.
When it comes to issues and what Walker stands for, it is unknown at this time, however, he did make it clear that he does not like the divisiveness that illustrates today’s politics saying, “The politicians pit Americans against Americans, rich versus poor, Black versus white, urban versus rural.” Walker promised a different approach, but this might be a promise that is difficult to keep. With Trump as a supporter, you can count on the former president to be hitting back hard against the other contenders to get his candidate across the primary race finish line to face Warnock in the general election.
There are a few questions on the minds of political watchers. Will the other candidates attack Walker with Trump by his side and will one or two decide that it is an unwinnable race and drop out. One of the candidates has already drawn his line in the sand. After Walker’s announcement, Black said, “Herschel, where have you been.” This jab suggests that Black is willing to go after Walker for his Texas residency, among other issues. Let the infighting begin