ATLANTA (AP) – Tuesday’s debate between Georgia’s Republican Senate candidates was predictably dominated by the man who wasn’t there – Herschel Walker.
If the race wasn’t dominated by Walker’s football celebrity and Donald Trump’s endorsement, Gary Black, Latham Saddler, Kelvin King, Josh Clark and Jon McColumn could all be more viable candidates for the Republican nomination. But instead, they all continued to try to work out a case for GOP voters to turn their backs on Walker and see them in the May 24 primary as an alternative to tackling incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in November.
“This is our fifth debate or forum that he has failed to show up,” said Saddler, a Navy veteran and former bank manager. “We need a leader or fighter who is going to beat Raphael Warnock in November. Raphael Warnock is a very smooth operator, we have seen him in action this latest election cycle.”
The Atlanta Press Club, which sponsored the debate broadcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting, set up an empty stage for Walker as the other candidates took turns dipping into his absence.
They want to drag Walker into a second round, hoping the frontrunner won’t be able to soar above the fray in a one-on-one matchup. Black, Georgia’s elected Agriculture Commissioner, has made the sharpest attacks on Walker, saying on Tuesday he will not be elected in November because of questions about his past, including “domestic violence, stalking of women, impending gunfire with police, business deals that have missed out.”
Officers responding to a 2001 report that Walker was armed and frightened his estranged wife at a home in suburban Dallas later noted that Walker “talked about a gunfight with the police,” according to a police report released by the police in February. AP was revealed. In a protective warrant sought by his then-ex-wife in 2005, Walker was accused of repeatedly threatening her with life. He was also faced with questions about whether he lied about graduating from the University of Georgia, about being the valedictorian at his high school, and whether he has blown his business record.
Walker has been open about his long battle with mental illness and acknowledged violent urges. His campaign has dismissed the report of a shooting and blamed the media for highlighting it.
“Herschel Walker will not win in November, so selecting someone who can win, who has a record that can beat Raphael Warnock, should be the No. 1 priority,” Black said.
Walker has rejected calls for debate, telling a radio station on April 20 that his opponents were jealous.
“Because Herschel is going to win that seat now,” Walker told WDUN-AM. “They can’t win it, so they go to the old politics where people are tired of that.”
Walker spokesman Mallory Blount posted on social media Tuesday night that Walker was meeting with voters in Burke County, near Augusta. “Hope you all enjoy being obsessive about Herschel Walker during the debate!” she wrote on Twitter†
Sometimes the candidates had a standard Republican debate on Tuesday, and they all said they would welcome a possible US Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and declare that they want a total ban on abortion.
“I want to ask those people who are pro-abortion, I want to ask you this question, what did the baby do wrong to be killed?” said McColumn, a retired brigadier general.
Several candidates pledged to cut federal spending as a way to fight inflation. When asked about health care, Clark stated his opposition to health care reform by former President Barack Obama, with the former state representative saying he wanted to advance patient choice. Saddler has defended himself against Clark’s accusations of being a former Democrat and a “global elitist,” and promoted his White House experience during the Trump administration.
King, an Air Force contractor and veteran, touted himself as the most versatile, while Clark noted that he was the only candidate with legislative experience, saying he would be “the decisive voice serving the citizens of Georgia from day one.” could be. .”
Multiple candidates were skeptical to varying degrees that the 2020 election in Georgia was fairly won by President Joe Biden over Trump. Some echoed Trump’s lies that the vote was stolen, despite the moderator pointing out that Trump’s own attorney general said there was no significant evidence of fraud.
But eventually the focus returned to the empty stage, and the man who wasn’t there. Saddler suggested that if Walker couldn’t handle a Republican primary debate in which the candidates agreed on most things, he wouldn’t face greater challenges.
“I think a simple question for Herschel Walker is, what do you think the US Senate is doing?” said Saddler. “It is the deliberative body of Congress. It’s what you do as a United States senator, you go up there and you debate ideas… And Herschel Walker can’t come here.”
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