Sen. Raphael Warnock vs. Herschel Walker Debate Could Actually Happen

·2 min read
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) departs a vote at the U.S. Capitol Sept. 6, 2022.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) departs a vote at the U.S. Capitol Sept. 6, 2022.

Sen. Raphael Warnock says he’s so eager to debate his opponent, Republican Herschel Walker, that he’ll accept most of Walker’s conditions to get it done.

Warnock, the incumbent first-term U.S. senator from Georgia, said in a statement this morning that he would agree to a debate in Walker’s preferred venue in Savannah, Ga., in October, to be hosted by Nexstar Media Group, which owns TV stations in that city, Columbus and Augusta, Ga. That debate, should it happen, would be next month.

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But Warnock’s agreement to take on Walker on his own turf came with two conditions: that Walker accepts the debate without being provided questions beforehand and that Walker agree a debate in either Macon or Atlanta next month as well.

None of it may make a difference to the Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL star.

Walker as a candidate is known primarily for being supported by ex-President Donald Trump and for his gaffes and outright lies on the campaign trail. He’s that no abortion bans exist anywhere in the country despite the fact that 14 states, including Georgia, have enacted at least partial bans on the procedure since the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down a constitutional right to the procedure. He’s also claimed, falsely, that he’s an FBI agent or member of law enforcement and admitted to having three children that he’d seldom discussed in public despite repeatedly criticizing absentee fathers.

With all that percolating, walker cruised to victory over his GOP opponents in the Georgia primary and is locked in a tight race with Warnock, an incumbent senator and the lineal successor to the pulpit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Put another way, Walker has a lot more to lose than gain by debating Warnock in front of TV cameras, so Warnock’s latest push for a debate is likely to be more effective at raising money and reminding voters of Walker’s reluctance to trade blows than at getting him on the debate stage.

The Root reached out to Walker’s campaign on Wednesday morning but hasn’t yet gotten a response.