What Herschel Walker had to say during appearance at Jaemor Farms

Jul. 22—Rural voters don't care about the abortion ban in Georgia. They care about the economy.

That's what Herschel Walker suggested at a media event in Alto on Thursday.

"People aren't concerned about that," Walker said when asked if the abortion ban that took effect in Georgia Wednesday might hurt his chances at the polls.

"People are concerned about the gas, they're concerned about food," he said. "They're not even talking about that. That's not what I'm hearing about."

Walker, who is running against Rafael Warnock for a U.S. Senate seat, visited Jaemor Farms in an apparent effort to secure the rural vote. He touted his Wrightsville roots and claimed his opponent is "against all the farmers."

"I'm for the farmers," he said, "and he's for Joe Biden."

State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, and Terry Rogers, former Republican state representative for the 10th district, were also present, flanking Walker as he fielded questions from the media.

"We all know that inputs are up and productions are down and that increases prices for consumers, and that's why we're here today," Miller said. "Everything that you go to the grocery store and buy, everything that you're involved with, is costing more today than it cost two years ago."

Miller said he and Walker had discussed the importance of work-based visas for foreign workers and technical colleges.

But while Walker wanted to focus on the economy, reporters asked him about a debate with Warnock — "I'm ready," he said — and pressed him on the issue of abortion.

"You think people aren't concerned about abortion?" asked Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein.

"Well, I didn't say that," Walker said. "People here are concerned about gas, and I think they're concerned about groceries. They're concerned about the baby formula, which is something that's very serious right now, and they're concerned about crime."

Walker said in May that he supports banning abortions without exceptions.

"I believe in life," he repeated Thursday.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling, allowing Georgia's restrictive 2019 abortion law to take effect immediately. The decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

The Georgia law bans most abortions once a "detectable human heartbeat" is present, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many woman know they're pregnant.

The Georgia law includes exceptions for rape and incest, but only if a police report is filed. It also allows for later abortions when the mother's life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus unviable.

Controversy has followed Walker along the campaign trail, including the revelation he fathered children he'd previously not acknowledged publicly and recent confusing comments on climate change.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.