The ads from Georgia Honor haven’t been subtle.
In a series of three spots, the group has played up Walker’s history of violence, domestic and otherwise. The first features Walker’s ex-wife discussing the “first time” he held a gun to her head. The second features a news anchor quoting Walker on the “visceral enjoyment” of a “spray of brain tissue.” The third notes Walker discussed “choking his employees” as recently as 2019.
The primary ad began airing Aug. 31. Within the month or so since, the group — which is fully funded by allies of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — has spent roughly $8.2 million to air the ads throughout Georgia, based on ad buying data viewed by HuffPost.
Those ads are why, based on conversations with Democratic and Republican operatives working on Georgia’s Senate race, the potential political game-changer from the past 24 hours shouldn’t be the revelation, reported by The Each day Beast, that Walker paid a lady he was dating to have an abortion. It’s the undeniable fact that Walker’s son, a conservative influencer named Christian, reacted to the story by backing up what Democrats had already been saying about his dad.
“I do know my mom and I might really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” Christian Walker wrote on Twitter on Monday night not long after the story published. “You’re not a ‘family man’ if you left us to bang a bunch of ladies, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running out of your violence.”
The elder Walker has denied paying for the abortion and has threatened to sue The Each day Beast. He has circuitously responded to his son’s comments, only writing on Twitter: “I LOVE my son irrespective of what.”
It’s far too early to evaluate the general electoral impact in his race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, with each parties planning to conduct polling and collect data over the following several days. Georgia is sort of certain to stay central to the battle for control of the 50-50 Senate. The 2 major entities supporting Herschel Walker’s campaign — the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a brilliant PAC controlled by allies of Mitch McConnell — quickly signaled they might stand by him on Tuesday night.
They should not have much selection: The Senate playing field has narrowed in recent weeks, and operatives in each parties imagine only a handful of seats still have a likelihood at changing hands. Democrats can still take GOP seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while Republicans’ best hopes of ousting incumbent Democrats are in Georgia and Nevada.
In videos posted to social media, Christian Walker elaborates on Herschel’s treatment of him and his mother, Cindy DeAngelis Grossman, who was married to Herschel Walker from 1983 to 2002.
“I stayed silent because the atrocities against my mom were downplayed,” he says in certainly one of the videos, adding later: “You might have no idea what you and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on Day 1.”
I’ve stayed silent for nearly two years as my whole life has been lied about publicly. I did ONE campaign event, then said I didn’t want involvement.
Don’t you dare test my authenticity. Here is the total story: pic.twitter.com/ekVEcz8zq3
— Christian Walker (@ChristianWalk1r) October 4, 2022
“Don’t lie about your life on the expense of me and my mom,” he says in one other. “You don’t get to pretend you’re some moral family man.”
The younger Walker’s videos essentially serve because the reverse of a method Republicans have leaned on lately of calling of their relations as character witnesses. In 2018, they pointed to children, wives and aunts with preexisting conditions as evidence they might not strip away health care protections. In 2022, 4 different GOP Senate candidates have aired ads featuring their wives discussing their character because the party tries to finesse the unpopularity of its stances on abortion rights.
“In the event that they’re going to make use of relations to defend themselves, we are able to use relations to attack them,” said one Democratic strategist who requested anonymity to debate party strategy.
On Tuesday, Democratic strategists were debating whether to directly take video from Christian Walker’s post and put them into television or digital ads. Some were wary of elevating the younger Walker, who broadly holds right-wing views and commonly expresses them on TikTok and on his podcast.
Democrats were also unsure of how steadily they might mention the elder Walker’s apparent hypocrisy on abortion rights. The Republican’s stated position — he opposes abortion in all instances, with no exceptions for rape or the lifetime of the mother and would support a national ban — is already sufficiently unpopular that it won’t require “dressing up,” within the words of 1 Democrat.
Recent polls of the race have been close. A CBS News/YouGov poll from mid-September, for example, found Warnock earning 51% of the vote to Walker’s 49%.
The identical poll found just 33% of voters would support a federal abortion ban, though just 59% of voters said abortion could be “very necessary” to their vote within the midterms, in comparison with 84% who said the identical of the economy and 80% who said inflation could be “very necessary.”
Amongst voters who described the economy as “very necessary” to their vote, Walker has a 56% to 44% edge, while Warnock has a 67% to 32% edge amongst voters who say abortion is “very necessary.”
However the poll also accommodates some indications latest revelations concerning the GOP candidate could have a limited impact, since voters already hold comparatively low opinions of him. Only 40% of voters said Walker, who has faced multiple stories showing him exaggerating his business record and accomplishments, was “honest and truthful.” Only 43% said he has “strong moral character,” and only 44% said he was a “good role model.”
“Should you weren’t going to vote for Herschel Walker due to his past behavior, Democrats have already given you loads of reason to try this,” said one GOP strategist, granted anonymity to debate Walker’s struggles.
But easy negative partisanship will keep a big chunk of voters in line. While a 57% majority of Warnock voters said they were supporting him because they liked the candidate, just 20% of Walker voters said the identical of the previous University of Georgia running back. Meanwhile, 47% of Walker voters said they backed him to oppose Warnock. Only 22% of Warnock voters said the identical of Walker.