Herschel Walker Throws Bruised Counterpunch In US Senate Battle With Warnock

This is a commentary by opinion columnist Adam Van Brimmer.

Here’s something I thought I’d never write about Herschel Walker, the political candidate.

Well played, Herschel.

On Tuesday, after months of “any time, any place” attitude from Walker and loads of youthful stimulants from his US Senate racing opponent, Walker officially committed to debating Raphael Warnock. Walker accepted Warnock’s challenge in “Game of Thrones” fashion – he eschewed invites from the debates Warnock had promised to attend in favor of a new event.

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker addresses the media at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Walker said he will debate Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia ahead of November's election.

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker addresses the media at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Walker said he will debate Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia ahead of November’s election.

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Walker’s proposed debate will take place October 14 in Savannah at a theater to be named. The timing and location are important because Walker challenged Warnock in the senator’s hometown — Warnock was born and raised several dozen blocks from Savannah’s theater district — and agreed to do so in front of a large crowd, not a small one. hall or a closed television studio.

Smart move by a candidate who has portrayed Warnock’s campaign as a coward for dodging his debate in recent months. With this proposal, Walker is telling Georgia voters that not only is he not afraid to debate Warnock, but that he will challenge him in his own backyard in front of what could be an animated audience.

US Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock speaks during a press conference after the Democrats Policy Luncheon at the US Capitol Building on November 2, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_9QW26H.jpg

US Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock speaks during a press conference after the Democrats Policy Luncheon at the US Capitol Building on November 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 0 ORIG FILE ID: AFP_9QW26H.jpg

Walker’s cunning has stolen Warnock’s swagger. The incumbent has not yet accepted Walker’s invitation, but insists Walker will agree to calls to debate on a Savannah TV station, at Mercer University in Macon or at the Atlanta Press Club.

Warnock’s hesitation makes him look a wimp for the first time in this election – and changes the tone of what seemed like a race Warnock would lose.

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Warnock chooses fight with Walker

Warnock has gone full school yard on Walker in this race.

He made a TV ad entitled “Bang” which clearly compared Walker to a kitten – draw your own parallels there – for his stance on debates.

Then, at a Walker campaign event this summer, a Democratic cop in a chicken suit showed up with a sign that read “Herschel Walker: I’ve been in the chicken business for years.”

Walker is out of his depth in his first political campaign, but he has hired experienced veterans around him. He overhauled his staff in July, hiring the highly respected pro Chip Lake, among others, and is beginning to see the benefits.

No spin doctor alive can cover up all of Walker’s gaffes like his “good air/bad air” claims about climate change and China, but a little expertise goes as far as a touchdown run in politics.

And Walker doesn’t need much blocking because of his icon status.

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Warnock on the defensive

Warnock is now the candidate who has to take the story again.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris greet Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., as they arrive to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, Tuesday, January 11, 2022, in Atlanta.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris greet Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., as they arrive to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Atlanta.

The Senate race, more than any other partisan race in November, was the one with crossover potential. Voter turnout will decide governor, US House races and other ballot matchups, but polls have shown independents and moderate conservatives skeptical of Walker – rightly so.

Yet Warnock is a Democrat, the party that has underperformed in the 20 months since President Joe Biden took office. Walker’s recent campaign strategy has been to tie Warnock to Biden. If Walker can use this debate maneuver to show voters that Warnock isn’t quite the confident, smooth, no-nonsense prodigy he’s portrayed, Walker could make a comeback that will sporty idol He is.

On the other hand, Walker could take the stage in Savannah this fall and say something stupid about gun control, climate change, abortion or any other wedge-shaped issue or policy. Or he could imitate Kelly Loeffler two years ago and repeat the phrase “radical liberal Raphael Warnock” as a malfunctioning animatronic robot at Disney’s “Hall of Presidents” and undermined his chances.

Opinion editor Adam Van Brimmer

Opinion editor Adam Van Brimmer

However, between now and October 14, Walker can rightly say, “I’m in this race.” Warnock picked a playground fight with the biggest tough guy in the schoolyard, and Walker stepped inside.

Well played, Herschel, sure. What comes next will decide this election.

Please contact Van Brimmer at [email protected] He cracks daily on Twitter @SavannahOpinion.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Herschel Walker Agrees To Race Debate In US Senate Against Warnock

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