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EXCLUSIVE: Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker racked up another impressive fundraising haul for his Senate campaign as he tries to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia in November’s midterm elections.
The former professional and college football star running back, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped propel the University of Georgia to a national championship, announced on Wednesday that his campaign pulled in $5.5 million during the January-March first quarter of 2022 fundraising. That’s up from the $5.4 million Walker hauled in during the final three months of last year.
Walker’s team, in sharing their fundraising figures first nationally with Fox News, noted that the amount brought in during the past three months was one of the largest fundraising quarters in the country for any Republican candidate seeking office. The campaign also highlighted that Walker received contributions from more than 50,000 donors from all 50 states during the first quarter.
“If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s putting my head down and going to work,” Walker emphasized in a statement. “Our team has traveled to every corner of Georgia shaking hands with voters and hearing about how they are fed up with Joe Biden and Raphael Warnock. We can’t do this by ourselves and Georgians are coming out in record numbers to join our team.”
Walker’s campaign shared their fundraising figures the day after Warnock announced that he raked in a massive $13.6 million in fundraising over the past three months and had $25.6 million cash on hand in his coffers as of the end of March.
Walker acknowledged in his statement that “the Republican nominee against Warnock will have to raise money and bring new voters to the table.” He touted his record in that regard: “I am doing both. We are so grateful for your support and look forward to giving this seat back to the people.”
Campaign Manager Scott Paradise noted that “since announcing in August, we have raised nearly $15 million with each quarter outperforming the last.”
He also highlighted that “Herschel’s pro-business, pro-law enforcement, pro-military, and pro-America message is clearly resonating with Georgians who are fed up with the status quo. We have the resources to tell Georgians why they need to fire Senator Warnock and that’s exactly what we’ll do through November.”
Walker’s the clear front-runner in the GOP primary, thanks to his high name recognition in the Peach State and the endorsement he received from former President Donald Trump – who for months encouraged Walker to run and who remains very popular and influential among Republican voters in Georgia and across the country. Recent polling suggests Walker holding an enormous lead over his Republican rivals in the May 24 Republican Senate primary.
Four other Republicans are running for the GOP Senate nomination in the Peach State: Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black; Latham Saddler, a businessman and former National Security Council official during the Trump administration and former Navy SEAL officer; Kelvin King, a U.S. Air Force veteran and businessman; and businessman and former State Representative Josh Clark.
Walker has run a carefully scripted campaign since jumping into the race, and his critics continue to note that Walker, as a first-time candidate, is untested under fire on the campaign trail and has not made it clear where he stands on some key issues. They also raise concerns about his political baggage that could give Warnock and the Democrats plenty of ammunition.
Walker has faced allegations of past physical abuse and violent behavior, including an alleged incident where Walker held a razor to his ex-wife’s throat, choked her, and later put a gun to her head. Black, a cattle farmer and Georgia’s elected agriculture commissioner, went up with a scathing digital ad last month that spotlighted the incident.
Separately, Walker for years has openly discussed his struggles with a mental illness known as dissociative identity disorder. Walker spotlighted his mental health challenges in a 2008 book, writing that he was able to overcome his multiple personalities with therapy and his faith in Christianity.
Walker’s also been dinged by numerous reports for months that he’s exaggerated the success of his businesses, and that Walker and his businesses owed millions in unpaid loans.
As the GOP aims to win back the Senate majority they lost in January 2021 when the Democrats narrowly swept Georgia’s twin Senate runoff elections, they’re playing plenty of defense, defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including five open seats – with two of them in the crucial battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
But they also see opportunities to flip blue seats red in four key swing states, including Georgia. And they view Warnock – the pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached – as one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection this year.
Warnock defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, by a razor-thin margin 15 months ago, to serve the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned in 2019 due to health reasons.