Kemp campaigned with Walker during the runoff after they avoided each other during the midterms, with Republicans hoping moderate conservative voters who had backed the governor might now throw their support to Walker too. Democrats, meanwhile, hoped these voters would either cross party lines to support Warnock or sit the election out entirely.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day, there had been tremendous and record-breaking turnout among early voters in the state. Democrats won a lawsuit to allow early voting on Saturday, Nov. 27, against Republican objections. The day followed a state holiday that historically had celebrated Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Following his slim lead in the November election, Warnock had remained a slight favorite to win the runoff, with experts predicting that Black, educated, and suburban voters would be turned off by Walker’s many controversies as a candidate.
The final stretch of Walker’s campaign had also worried some Republican allies, with the candidate choosing to take five days off for Thanksgiving despite the close race and Warnock’s serious fundraising advantage. Revelations also emerged that the football star had claimed Texas — not Georgia — as his residence for tax purposes, leading to renewed accusations of carpetbagging.
Walker, who had a habit for delivering unintelligible answers on everything from gun violence to the economy to healthcare, had been plagued by accusations of domestic violence by his ex-wife, as well as another former girlfriend who came forward last week.
The Daily Beast reported in June that Walker, a critic of fatherless Black homes, had a second son whom he had not publicly acknowledged and whose mother had sued the candidate for child support. Walker was subsequently forced to admit that in addition to his son Christian Walker, a conservative social media influencer, he had three other children.
The Walker campaign was rattled again months later by reporting from the Daily Beast in which a woman said he impregnated her in 2009 and then paid for her abortion — claims he continued to deny despite revelations that the woman was the mother of one of his children.
Weeks later, a second woman said she was so disgusted by Walker’s denials that she felt compelled to reveal that she too had had an abortion at his urging when they were in a relationship in the 1990s. Again, Walker — who campaigned as an anti-abortion evangelical who wanted a total ban on the procedure with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the pregnant person — denied the woman’s claims.
Prioritizing victory at all costs, top Republicans and Christian leaders opted not to abandon Walker over the abortion scandals. “I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles,” said Dana Loesch, a former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. “I want control of the Senate.”
But the abortion claims and denials evidently caused outrage among some of those close to Walker, as son Christian used his large social media following to publicly turn on his father, calling him a deadbeat and a liar.