It was just a matter of time, and I’m only surprised it took them this long. Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a Republican, has been polling in the No. 1 spot in the upcoming primary elections. Now, it appears one of his opponents wishes to knock him out of his spot. Predictably, they are using Walker’s past issues with domestic violence and mental health to unseat him from his position.
I have four words for this: It ain’t gonna work.
RedState’s Joe Cunningham reported on a video posted by one of Walker’s opponents:
Those allegations are part of an ad dropped against Walker by Gary Black’s campaign. Black, currently the Commissioner of Agriculture in Georgia, is looking to knock Walker out of the top spot ahead of the primaries in Georgia and be the Republican nominee going up against Warnock. Right now, the most recent poll has Walker up 58 points over Black (66-8), and that gap has been fairly consistent, but Black is hoping to make a pretty significant dent with attack ads.
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The video suggests that Walker has not been honest about his past issues with his former wife and his struggles with mental illness. The narrator argues that if the former football star were to receive the GOP nomination, the Democrats would make Walker’s issues the campaign’s focal point, thereby ensuring that Sen. Raphael Warnock remains in his seat.
Black might be right. If Walker is nominated, the Democrats could seize on the opportunity to dredge up the candidate’s past issues. But, as Black’s campaign is likely to find out, these attacks will not land in the way one would expect.
For starters, the video is being deceptive when it claims Walker never addressed any of the problems he has faced in the past nor has he been dishonest about his toxic and destructive behavior. During an interview with Axios last December, the candidate stated that he is “accountable” for his violent behavior against his former wife and that people should not be “ashamed” about dealing with mental illness.
The former college and pro football star is confronting his history of mental illness head-on during his campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination, after the airing of some concerns among GOP leadership and voters.
Walker said he’s “better now than 99% of the people in America. … Just like I broke my leg; I put the cast on. It healed.”
When asked about his relationship with his former wife, Cindy Grossman, he said, “I’m always accountable to whatever I’ve ever done. And that’s what I tell people: I’m accountable to it.”
He also addressed allegations that he threatened two other women in 2002 and 2012, denying that he engaged in that behavior. “[P]eople can’t just make up and add on and say other things that’s not the truth. They want me to address things that they made up.”
This is not the first time Walker has publicly discussed his past. In conversations on ABC News and CNN in 2008, he appeared with Grossman to talk about her experience, including details about threats and choking. The athlete told Axios that he considers himself “best friends” with Grossman today.
The two have one child together named Christian Walker, who has also become known in the conservative space for his explosive, screamy political rants on social media.
Walker wrote a book in 2008 detailing his struggle with dissociative identity disorder in which he discussed the violent thoughts towards himself and others that he dealt with in the past. He has been a fervent advocate for mental health awareness in the military and vowed that if elected, he will fight to expand mental health resources in health care, law enforcement, and the Armed Services.
“Most of the things I’ve done after my struggles have shown people that you can get knocked down and you can get up,” he told Axios. “And that’s what I want people to realize.”
“Don’t be ashamed to address your issues,” he continued. “For a man, it’s very tough. For an African American man, it’s even harder. But you know, I want people to see that. And that’s one of the major reasons I decided to run.”
If nominated, there is a chance Democrats will bring up Walker’s past. But it also seems likely they will avoid the topic altogether, and you probably already know why.
Despite the activist media’s attempts to downplay Sen. Warnock’s domestic violence issues – which are far more recent – the news still got out. The senator’s wife accused him of deliberately running over her foot in his SUV during an argument. The Daily Mail reported:
She tells the officer that she had been trying to get Warnock’s signature for a passport so she can take their children to Africa for a family funeral.
‘He’s like, ‘Ouleye, close the door. I’m leaving,’ she tells the officer.
‘And I was like, ‘just hear me out. If your mom died, and I had the kids. Wouldn’t you want me to let them go with you to the funeral? And he just starts backing the car up. He wasn’t going fast, I’m not bleeding. But I just can’t believe he’d run me over.’
Asked whether she thought it was intentional, she replied: ‘Obviously. I was standing here. The door was open and I’m leaning into the car. How can you drive the car when I’m leaning into it?’
She told the officer she wanted to file a report.
‘This man’s running for United States Senate, and all he cares about right now is his reputation,’ she said.
‘I’ve been very quiet about the way that he is for the sake of my kids and his reputation.
‘I’ve tried to keep the way that he acts under wraps for a long time, and today he crossed the line. So that is what is going on here. And he’s a great actor. He is phenomenal at putting on a really good show.’
If the Democrats want to bring up Walker’s past, they will also have to deal with Warnock’s issues coming back to bite him. Indeed, what if his wife has more to say about his behavior? Perhaps others will come out to tell their stories. It may not be a gambit Democrats wish to make.
Either way, while Walker’s past is troubling, it is not hard to see he is a different person today. The fact that he owned up to his actions makes it even harder to use it against him. If Democrats wish to keep that seat, they will have to try a different strategy.