Oct 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Raphael Warnock goes on offense amid Herschel Walker allegations

Raphael Warnock

Raphael Warnock on Oct. 17 in Duluth, Ga. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

In the wake of a new abortion allegation against Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, his opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and the Warnock campaign are increasingly pointing to Walker's past as evidence of why he's not fit to be a senator.

Why it matters: The polls in this battleground Senate race have remained in a dead heat even after months of revelations about Walker, including un-reported children, reports of domestic violence and false claims about his academic record.

  • In a Wednesday press conference organized by her lawyer, an anonymous "Jane Doe" said Walker pressured her into having an abortion, paid for it and drove her to the clinic.

Driving the news: Warnock's deputy campaign manager Rachel Petri said in a statement Wednesday that the report "is just the latest example of a troubling pattern we have seen play out again and again and again. Herschel Walker shouldn’t be representing Georgians in the U.S. Senate."

  • After the first abortion allegation, Warnock's campaign remained silent.
  • In a Monday campaign appearance, Warnock told reporters he's talking about his opponent's past because "an election is a choice. And the people of Georgia deserve to see that choice."
  • "I think if you want to know what somebody will do once they're in office, just take a look at their life before they ran," he said.
  • Warnock, who ran a largely positive campaign in 2020, dodged questions about Walker's past for most of 2022. But his campaign recently launched ads about the first abortion allegation, on top of September attack ads featuring Walker's domestic violence allegations.

The other side: Walker in a statement has called the latest allegation a lie. He has repeatedly denied the first allegation.

  • "This is pitiful. The media should not be so foolish as to think I will spend any time talking about these lies," he said. Republicans and national Republican groups have stood by Walker throughout past scandals.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who was in Georgia with Walker on Wednesday, fired back. He compared the allegations to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "I’ve seen this movie before folks," he said.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) will campaign with Walker on Thursday.

The intrigue: "Senator Warnock is very aware of what he needs to do to close out this campaign with a victory," Democratic Georgia strategist Tharon Johnson told Axios.

  • "Warnock has to make sure that voters understand the differences between him and his opponent."
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