Who is Herschel Walker? What you need to know about Republican challenger in Georgia runoff

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Senate candidates in Georgia will face off Tuesday when the runoff race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker comes to a head.

The race in Georgia went to a runoff after neither Democratic incumbent Warnock nor Republican challenger Walker earned more than half the votes cast in November.

While Democrats have already locked the Senate majority for the next two years, a win by Walker would give Republicans an important extra seat.

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What's the difference: Georgia's runoff will determine if Senate is split 50-50 or 51-49.

Here's what to know about Herschel Walker:

Who is Herschel Walker?

A former college and National Football League star, the 60-year-old Georgia native and Republican entered the race for Senate as one of former President Donald Trump's hand-selected candidates. In the Nov. 8 election, Walker won 30,000 fewer votes than Democrat and incumbent Warnock.

His 2022 run is Walker's first political campaign. He had a diverse career after football, from representing the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics on the bobsledding team to serving as chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition while Trump was in office.

Throughout this year's election, Walker has run as a non-politician, including in the lead up to his sole debate with Warnock in October when the GOP challenger referred to himself as "just a country boy."

Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at a campaign event on Nov. 6, 2022 in Hiram, Georgia.
Herschel Walker, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks at a campaign event on Nov. 6, 2022 in Hiram, Georgia.

A staunch anti-abortion rights candidate, Walker faced controversy just weeks out from the general election when an ex-girlfriend told the Daily Beast he had paid for her abortion back in 2009 and later urged her to have a second one. Walker denied her allegations, along with those from a second woman who came forward later saying she too was previously pressured by the Senate candidate to have an abortion.

What you need to know: Georgia's Senate runoff between Warnock and Walker nears.

Where does Walker stand on abortion, energy?

Despite the controversy about his personal life, Walker has maintained a strict position against abortion access, including in cases of rape or incest. When asked to elaborate during his campaign, Walker has referenced his Christian faith as reason for his stance.

“Georgia is a state that respects life,” Walker said in his debate with Warnock.

According to his campaign website, Walker is "pro-life" as part of his stance for "conservative family values."

Walker has also run on a platform of energy independence as a means to reduce oil and gas prices, along with saying he will "defend, not defund, the police."

During their debate, Walker also claimed to be a champion for mental health care, saying he no longer receives treatment for his own dissociative identity disorder.

Walker has said he would support Trump in 2024. The former president announced his intent to run shortly after the November midterms.

More: Super PACs spending $16M more on Raphael Warnock than Herschel Walker in Georgia runoff

How much did Walker raise?

The Georgia Senate race is this election cycle's most expensive race nationally, according to OpenSecrets.

In the runoff alone, Walker has been outraised by Warnock by almost double. While political action committees have spent about $24 million on Walker's behalf, others have spent over $40 million to support his opponent.

Ahead of the general election, Walker raised around $12 million from July to September.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Herschel Walker? What to know about Georgia Senate candidate