Herschel Walker: What Happens Next?

Late Monday, a surprise of the 2022 election landed, and it’s one that could have major implications for control of the Senate.

 According to the Daily Beast, Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009. This is shocking since Walker has campaigned on an antiabortion platform – with no exceptions – and has said that he has always opposed the rights. Of course, Walker denies this, and most other news sources have not independently confirmed this yet. 

His son Christian, who is a conservative that previously indicated that he supported Walker’s campaign, is now speaking out against him, saying that his dad threatened to kill him and his mother. The family repeatedly had to move to flee his violence. National Republicans have indicated that they will back their candidate. 

So what happens next?

The reason that Republicans are standing by Walker is that they have little other choice. Georgia law doesn’t allow a party to replace a candidate this late in the process. 

The law says, “Any vacancy which occurs in any particular nomination filled by a primary and which is created by reason of the withdrawal of a candidate less than 60 days prior to the date of the election shall not be filled.” 

Also factoring into the GOP’s continued support: the party was increasingly counting on Georgia to make its Senate majority. 

Although Walker is problematic, he hasn’t lagged as badly as some since polls have shown Republican candidates underperforming the fundamentals in several key Senate races. 

Two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell named Georgia alongside Nevada as the GOP’s best pickup opportunities, apparently over Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire. 

McConnell wagered Republicans would hold GOP seats in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, at which point they would need either Georgia or Nevada to take the Senate majority. But Mehmet Oz, GOP nominee, still trails in Pennsylvania – and if he lost, Georgia might be necessary (though much remains in flux). 

We’ll have to wait and see just how winnable the race remains; frequent polling should give us some clues in the days to come.

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