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Former Heisman Trophy Winner Herschel Walker Wins Georgia GOP Senate Primary

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2022

Herschel Walker, US Republican Senate candidate for Georgia, speaks during a campaign rally in Macon, Georgia, US, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Heisman Trophy-winner Walker is vying to face incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in his first political run. Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Herschel Walker, a former standout running back at the University of Georgia who captured the Heisman Trophy in 1982, won the Republican Party nomination for Senate in Georgia on Tuesday night.

Walker dominated the six-person GOP field with 68.2 percent of the vote, according to the state's official election website. No one else received more than 13.4 percent with 95 percent of precincts reported.

The 60-year-old Georgia native advances to face incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in the general election. It'll mark the first time in the state's history that both major party candidates for a Senate seat are Black, per ESPN.

Walker has faced multiple allegations of domestic abuse, including two instances where women said he threatened to kill them, according to CNN's Manu Raju and Alex Rogers.

Walker has denied the allegations.

In 2008, the former NFL star said he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and sought treatment for mental illness after an incident where he played Russian roulette with a loaded pistol.

"To challenge death like I was doing, you start saying, there's a problem here," Walker told ABC News at the time.

Mitch McConnell, the minority leader for the Senate GOP, told CNN he came away "entirely comfortable" after looking into Walker's past.

His Senate bid was bolstered by an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who remains a key influencer in the Republican Party ahead of a possible 2024 Presidential bid.

"You were the greatest football player, and you'll be an even greater politician," Trump said while congratulating Walker on his primary victory, per CNBC's Kevin Breuninger.

The running back played for Trump's New Jersey Generals in the USFL in the mid-1980s before moving on to the NFL, where he earned two Pro Bowl selections during his time with the Dallas Cowboys. He also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

Warnock, a pastor from Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, won a special election in 2021 to fill the remainder of Johnny Isakson's term after his retirement in 2019 because of health reasons.

The Georgia Senate race will be one of the country's most closely watched heading into the Nov. 8 general election because it could help decide the balance of power in the Senate, which currently has a 50-50 split.

Either Warnock or Walker will win a full six-year term in Congress.