Former NFL star Herschel Walker is running for the Senate in Georgia in bid to unseat Warnock

Former NFL running back and Trump favorite Herschel Walker has filed paperwork to run for Senate in Georgia challenging Sen. Raphael Warnock for a seat  he wrested from Republicans in one of their most high-profile losses of the last election cycle.

Walker, political newcomer, will take on Warnock, a pastor who also had no political experience, next year. Warnock won the seat in a runoff special election after taking on Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. 

Walker, who played football at the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs to a Heisman Trophy, just registered to vote in the Peach State last week, making him an official resident. He’d been living in Dallas for the past decade.

Walker has not yet publicly announced his candidacy, but he filed his documents to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). A formal announcement is expected in the coming days. 

The hotly contested 2020 Senate elections in Georgia ended in two GOP losses after a runoff election, and tossed the majority to Democrats in the upper chamber. Both Republicans had been narrowly ahead in November’s vote, but there were multiple candidates on both sides, and under Georgia’s unusual election laws if no candidate wins a majority the vote goes to a runoff with the top two vote-getters. 

Georgia had not had a Democrat senator in 15 years until the 2020 election, and Republicans are likely to come back with a vengeance in the 2022 campaign.  

Former President Trump has repeatedly urged Walker, who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, to run for the seat. 

‘He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL. He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!’ Trump said in a statement in March.  

Former President Trump has repeatedly urged Walker, who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, to run for the seat

 Filings show that Walker’s treasurer and custodian are consultants with Georgia firm RTA Strategy, a group that has worked to elect other Republicans in the state including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The campaign’s legal team will include Stefan Passantino, a former Trump White House and campaign attorney. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was reportedly deeply concerned about a run from the longtime Trump pal, fearing Walker’s potential campaign would fizzle and hand the seat over to Democrats for six years. 

The Senate minority leader has stepped in to help Republicans find a suitable candidate for the 2022 election, and is said to be considering both unsuccessful incumbents from 2020 – Loeffler and David Perdue.   

A damning report from late July details accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened his ex-wife and that his unpredictable behavior concerned business associates. 

Walker, unable to accept his former wife was dating someone else, also told family members he would kill her and her new boyfriend, the Associated Press reports. 

McConnell is reportedly meeting with a former Trump official, Latham Saddler, about his confirmed Senate bid in an effort to find alternate candidates, a source told CNN. 

Establishment Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas said to the outlet of Walker, ‘I want the best nominee’ but ‘I don’t know whether’ he is the one. 

But earlier in the year Lindsey Graham, also a Trump ally, said ‘It’s be great to have somebody of his stature running as a conservative.’ 

Walker has held talks with political consultants in Georgia, but seems to lack a formal political operation behind him – and already lacks the experience. 

Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter is confident in a Walker victory, calling him a ‘strong person’ and declared ‘I know he’s going to win.’ 

In addition to Saddler, Georgia agricultural commissioner Gary Black and business owner Kelvin King have also thrown themselves into the Republican primary race.

A source close to Loeffler reportedly told CNN she would consider running again.

Perdue, however, stepped back from a potential run in February. He hasn’t sent any strong indication he was inclined either way since, even at a GOP donor dinner in Washington. 

But despite Republicans’ broad search, Trump’s support of Walker seems unwavering. 

Walker played for Trump’s now-defunct U.S.F.L. team New Jersey Generals and remained a close family friend, even appearing on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’

He also supported Trump’s 2016 and 2020 White House bids. Walker has also previously gotten behind Trump’s effort to overturn his election loss.

McConnell on the other hand is a frequent punching bag for Trump, and their feud over Georgia extends beyond the senator’s alleged attempts to subvert a potential Walker campaign. 

Trump blamed McConnell for not fighting harder for his victory and not joining attempts to subvert the election. He also attacked McConnell for Republicans losing the Senate majority in Georgia in early 2021.

‘He never fought for the White House and blew it for the Country,’ Trump said in a statement in late June. ‘Too bad I backed him in Kentucky, he would have been primaried and lost!’ 

But allies of McConnell have blamed Trump for his persistent claims that the Georgia election would be ‘rigged’ in the run up to January’s runoff.  

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