Georgia Senate frontrunner Herschel Walker skips GOP debate

The Trump-endorsed Heisman trophy winner is the frontrunner to challenge Senator Raphael Warnock

Eric Garcia
Monday 11 April 2022 16:57 BST
Former NFL player Herschel Walker says calling Trump a racist is a 'personal insult' against him

Former football star Herschel Walker skipped a debate on Saturday among Republican candidates running for Senate this year in Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Mr Walker played for the University of Georgia as a running back and won the Heisman Trophy before playing for NFL teams like the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. He is the frontrunner to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock this November.

Former president Donald Trump endorsed Mr Walker and had called for him to run for Senate. The two have known each other since Mr Walker played for the New Jersey Generals, a team for the American Football League that Mr Trump owned. Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader John Thune have also backed him.

But many Republican candidates criticised Mr Walker for avoiding the debate during, sponsored by the 9th District GOP.

“I’m also certain that every coach that he had in the past instructed him that you’ll not play in the game if you don’t show up for practice,” Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said at the debate. “But his coaches now have him locked in the basement of the locker room. I think it’s a shame.”

Mr Walker has come under criticism for instances of violence toward women, which Mr Black has criticised. Mr Walker admitted his previous violence against women and said he addressed his mental health difficulties with therapy.

“Anyone who has put their hands on a woman, who has stalked, has threatened police with shootouts does not deserve to be in the US Senate,” Mr Black said.

At the same time, Mr Walker has shown to be a formidable opponent against Mr Warnock, who won a special election runoff race early last year and is now running for a full term. A survey from The Hill and Emerson College last week showed that Mr Walker was beating Mr Warnock by four points in a head-to-head race.

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