The daily beast
Brendan Smialowski / GettyWeek Weekly, the Republican field that will face Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in 2022 continues to develop as Donald Trump wants: into a potential crowning achievement for football legend and Trump family favorite, Herschel Walker. Former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) has announced that he will not run for the US Senate, becoming the latest and most famous figure to step down. GOP circles viewed Trump’s staunch ally as a likely candidate for the job. He sought the Senate seat last year, after all, when he unsuccessfully challenged his fellow Republican, then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler. But even without a GOP incumbent in his own way this time around, Collins went out – and he did so surprisingly early on. Some Georgian insiders say Walker didn’t play a role in Collins’ calculation, but the former University of Georgia footballer is casting an undeniable shadow over the GOP primary as he decides to run. all Republicans how badly Trump and his family want Herschel Walker to show up. Publicly, the former president encouraged Walker to run against Warnock. But his push behind the scenes was even more robust. In recent weeks, Trump has personally asked GOP senators to call Walker and urge him to participate in the race, according to two people familiar with the conversations. He even merged Senators on his own calls with Walker to push them to make the pitch. (Walker could not be reached for comment.) With Trump’s enthusiastic support behind him, however, Walker could be tough to beat in a GOP primary in Georgia. But the party needs a candidate who can defeat Warnock, and some Republicans across the state feel that a first-time untested candidate like Walker could be a risky prospect in what could be the Senate race. the most closely watched in the country. Given those concerns – and the lingering uncertainty about Walker’s stance – some Republicans are not taking the prospect of his candidacy seriously. Neither do many Democrats. The most important person in the GOP, however, is extremely serious, and that’s all that matters right now. [Walker] seriously did not speak with President Trump or his orbit, ”a Georgian Republican said. “They’re all-in on him.” The leadership of the nation’s most divided battlefield state, not to mention that of the US Senate and Joe Biden’s presidency, is at stake in the balance of Trump’s lobbying campaign. With the Senate also divided, a clean takeover of the GOP of a single seat would bring Mitch McConnell back to the office of the Majority Leader with veto power over much of Biden’s agenda. Georgia tops the list party goals for 2022, but you might not know judging by who has already passed this race. Beyond Collins, former Sen. David Perdue was seen as a strong candidate to challenge Warnock after his loss in the January second round. But Perdue announced in February that he would not be running, quickly ending speculation about a possible return to the Senate. Two ambitious Republicans have already entered the race: Latham Saddler, a former Navy SEAL who served on the Council of Trump’s National Security, and Kelvin King, Air Force veteran and construction businessman. Both are also running for the first time, and a handful of more seasoned politicians are waiting behind the scenes. Potentially in the mix is a trio of GOP House members – Reps. Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson and Austin Scott – as well as a list of current and former local representatives. Carter, who represents the Savannah area, likely spoke on behalf of the others, saying publicly that his decision to run depended on whether Walker did or not. The person who last occupied that seat, the former Senator Kelly Loeffler, is perhaps the last great unspoken for Republican. beyond Walker. The Atlanta businesswoman, who was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to the Senate in 2019, spent the two-month campaign courting the party’s far-right and trying to avoid Trump’s vicious grudge against Kemp for failing to undo Biden’s victory in the state. She lost to Warnock by just over 2 points, after spending $ 23 million of her own money on the race.After leaving office, Loeffler started a nonprofit called Greater Georgia, designed as a conservative response to Democratic leader Stacey Abrams’ efforts to save more Georgia. Loeffler is widely seen as unlikely to take on another murderous primary and rematch with Warnock, but the former senator has remained at the center of the state’s biggest political fight: the vote and the election. Kemp’s controversial new law reworking the state’s electoral system. And on Wednesday, Loeffler sent a letter to the state attorney general asking him to investigate Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – whom she called to resign during the second round – for allegedly using her office to “win his political life ”. they must diversify their usual slate of candidates in order to topple Warnock, the state’s first black US senator. “If I’m a Republican from Georgia, you either want a woman who isn’t named Kelly Loeffler or a person of color,” a state agent told The Daily Beast. This is where Walker would come in. His story is familiar to many Georgians: he grew up in a working-class family in central Georgia and became a high school student and all-star athlete before his Hall of Fame career for the Georgia Bulldogs. The first professional team he played for in the 1980s was the then-Trump-owned New Jersey Generals, and that’s how the two first met. He has since maintained a relationship with the Trump family and is particularly close to the ex-president’s son Don, Jr., who actively urged Walker to run for the Senate. In his 2019 book, Trump Jr. recalls taking a trip to Disney World with Walker and his family when he was 6 years old. now lives full time in Texas. In 2014, he appeared in an advertisement supporting former GOP Rep Jack Kingston when he faced Perdue that year. Along with Trump, he supported Kemp’s bid for governor in 2018. In 2020, Walker held an honorary position in Loeffler’s campaign, appeared with Trump at various campaign events, and starred in an advertisement for second round in which he “ threw ” the pigskin back and forth. After Trump’s defeat, Walker backed the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him and tweeted endorsement of some of the extravagant conspiracies put forward by Lin Wood, the Atlanta lawyer who briefly led a parallel effort. to help the former president. and the Republican’s attempts to overturn the election. After the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol, Walker tweeted conspiratorial rumors that the insurgency was some kind of false flag operation. “He will be a great candidate if he chooses to run,” said Jason Shepherd, a longtime GOP activist who is running for president of the state party. “Herschel Walker is going to be difficult to attack. He has an amazing story to tell that will make him a very powerful candidate. “I can see him clearing the field if he jumps,” Shepherd added. Walker wanted in the Senate race. In a recent Fox News appearance, Walker confirmed he was seriously interested in the race. on foot, but even the state’s hippest Republicans are largely unaware of what he’s going to do on that ground, and they’re convinced Warnock is in a good position to take it. Just over two months after the end of it. ‘a 2020 cycle in which he raised more than $ 138 million, Warnock is rebuilding his war chest, with more than $ 5.6 million in the bank as of April 1. Georgia Democrat from a Walker candidacy. “Good luck with that.” Shepherd, a former Cobb County GOP chairman, said that Walker doesn’t live in Georgia is hardly an obstacle. Like several other Republicans who spoke with The Daily Beast, he noted that Hillary Rodham Clinton had bought a house in New York after having d decided to run for the State Senate in 1999. “He can’t live physically in Georgia,” Shepherd said, “but he’s never far from Georgia for very long. For more, check out The Daily Beast. Get our best items delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.