Former President Donald Trump is encouraging Heisman Trophy-winning football star Herschel Walker to run for office against Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia's 2022 election.
"Run Herschel, run!" Trump said in a statement, adding that Walker, a Georgia native who became a star playing for the University of Georgia in the 1980s, would be "unstoppable," reports the Washington Examiner.
A new Trafalgar Poll shows Walker with a slight lead of 49% to 47% over Warnock, who's also the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The poll of 1,093 likely GOP general election and primary voters also shows Walker has a 54.7% favorability rating among voters polled and with wide margins over other potential 2022 GOP candidates, including former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost to Warnock in the Jan. 5 runoff race, and ex-Rep. Doug Collins, who lost his primary bid for Senate in 2020.
Walker, a college football legend who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants in the NFL, has lived in Texas for several years, however. But, as Trump said in his statement, he remains "legendary" in Georgia.
Some Republicans, though, are questioning whether Walker could handle an extended campaign, particularly since the Georgia race would be his first political fight.
"If he truly has an interest in running for U.S. Senate in Georgia and representing our party and our state, I would hope he would move back here and have meetings with activists and people in the community and make the case that, 'Hey, this is something I want to do and I’m ready for what’s going to come my way,'" Chip Lake, a Georgia Republican operative told the Examiner.
Lake, however, was an adviser to Collins, who has not ruled out another shot at the Senate or even a challenge to GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Meanwhile, other potential Republican candidates, including ex-Sen. David Perdue, who lost his 2020 reelection bid, are reportedly holding back from announcing "because they have heard about the Trump-Herschel combo," a state GOP operative said.
Walker appears to be interested and has been asking Republicans about mounting a campaign after the Jan. 5 runoff elections that GOP incumbents Perdue and Loeffler lost to Democrats Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff, costing Republicans control of the Senate.
Walker, 59, is considered an icon with fans from both sides of the political aisle, making him potentially formidable in a general election. Also, with Trump's endorsement, a primary victory would be highly likely.
Walker has been a close friend of Trump's for decades, and strongly supported his 2020 reelection campaign.
He has also made several statements on social media platforms supporting Trump's claims that the November presidential election was stolen due to voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere.
Walker also suggested in tweets on Jan. 6, the day of the U.S. Capitol breach, that some of the protesters may have been "Trojan Horses," or leftists disguised as Trump supporters, and called for the then-president to "find out who these people are as they do not look like MAGA! You have the power right now to see who they really are and to get to the bottom of who stole this election! Prosecute these bad players."
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