Trump-backed Herschel Walker wins Republican nomination for US Senate in Georgia

NFL vet now heads to November showdown with Warnock

GOP candidates try for chance to face off against Sen. Raphael Warnock

Herschel Walker is headed to the general election after winning the Republican Senate primary in Georgia on Tuesday.

His victory was a clean sweep, taking more than 70 per cent of the vote as of the time the race was called shortly after 8pm.

The 60-year-old Mr Walker is a Georgia native and NFL legend: He won the Heisman trophy three times, and was one of the the big names that Donald Trump coaxed to his burgeoning USFL competitor in the 1980s, before that league folded. On Tuesday, he was Mr Trump’s champion once again thanks to his embrace of the former president’s frequently spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

Mr Walker has little experience in politics beyond making endorsements in previous Georgia primary elections; he most recently supported Brian Kemp, the state’s Trump-rebuking governor, for election in 2018 before Mr Kemp’s falling-out with the ex-president. He has never held elected office.

Still, his celebrity status was a boon in his bid for the nomination and he was very publicly coaxed into the race by the president himself, as well as much of his inner circle. Now he will face his first real test: An attempt to unseat an incumbent US senator in November.

Rev Raphael Warnock has only represented the seat for a year following his ascendance via special election last year, and is running for his first full term. His fellow Democratic Georgia senator, Jon Ossoff, won election to a full term the same day Mr Warnock won his own victory in 2021.

Mr Walker’s general election chances were a source of concern for some Republican operatives prior to Tuesday’s primary election, given that he could be hard-pressed to keep up with the incumbent on issues of policy, where the latter has far greater experience, as well as his history of living out of state.

The retired NFL great also faces a recently-resurfaced allegation of domestic violence dating back two decades, when his then-girlfriend told police that he threatened to “blow her head off” during an argument. He told Axios last year that he’s “accountable” for his previous violent behavior.

Many younger Americans are more likely to know Mr Walker’s son than the candidate himself, however; despite his prolific career in the NFL, it’s his son Christian who has made waves on social media platforms with his burgeoning careers as a right-leaning influencer and occasional political commentator.

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