Apr 22, 2022 - News

Trail Notes: Inside Walker's listening tour campaign

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Herschel Walker has been avoiding open-press events and skipped the first debate in the U.S. Senate primary, but he's still leading in polls.

So what is he doing?

Smaller political events, private fundraisers and group roundtables.

  • He's met with law enforcement, business leaders, nonprofit activists, mental health professionals and more, in almost every community he visits.

Why it matters: As someone who needs no name ID, Walker, who was until recently living in Texas as a businessman and mental health advocate, says he's trying to learn from his potential constituents.

As he put it at one roundtable Axios attended in LaGrange, Ga., on Monday:

"When I decided to run I said what I want to do, I want to go out and meet the people. I think it's so, so important. I think politicians in Washington assume they know everything. And that's not true."
ā€” Herschel Walker

And assume he knew everything, Walker did not. He peppered attendees with questions about their issues and how the federal government could step in.

Walker listened as LaGrange's police chief Lou Dekmar outlined the grave needs for mental health care coverage in the local criminal justice system.

  • Dekmar suggested block grants from the federal government to enable the community to build long-term care options for repeat offenders with mental illnesses.
  • Walker asked for clarification about how block grants work.

Walker took notes while the local district attorney John Herbert Cranford said that if the state raises the age classification of an "adult" in the criminal justice system to over 18, the community will need federal money to cover the costs for 17-year-olds in juvenile detention.

  • Walker asked what the drinking age and the enlistment ages are, for context.

The group also asked for help gaining the ability to geofence jails and prisons to jam contraband cell phone use, in an effort to stifle gang organizing from behind bars. (The FCC regulates signal jamming.)

  • Walker asked why inmates were able to have cell phones; officials explained that they are contraband.

"I don't know everything, and I'm learning a lot more than I thought I knew," Walker told the group.

Trail mix: On the other side of the aisle, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock released an ad with a unique tone: "A magician? I'm not. So in just a year in the Senate did I think I could fix Washington? Of course not."

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