UPDATE 8/25/21: Herschel Walker said he “can’t sit on the sidelines anymore” as he joined the Republican U.S. Senate race in Georgia. He’s running with some definite advantages — including his football fame and the support of former President Donald Trump — but also with a lot of unknowns in his effort to beat Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022.
“America is the greatest country in the world, but too many politicians in Washington are afraid to say that,” Walker said Wednesday in his first statement as a Senate candidate after filing papers to run Tuesday. “Where else could a poor kid from a small town in Georgia become valedictorian of his high school, earn the Heisman Trophy, play professional football, represent the United States in the Olympics, and become CEO of multiple companies? I have lived the American Dream, but I am concerned it is slipping away for many people.”
Electronic voter registration records show Walker registered last Tuesday at an Atlanta house owned by his wife, Julie Blanchard.
Walker has acknowledged that he is considering a run, but has declined to discuss his plans.
The 59-year-old Walker won a Heisman Trophy as a University of Georgia running back in 1982, followed by a long pro career.
He has been living in Texas, but registering to vote means he’s legally attesting that he now lives in Georgia.
Warnock won a special election runoff for the Senate seat in January, giving Democrats control of Senate, but he must run again in 2022.
Georgia Republicans already running for the Senate seat include state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, former banking executive and Navy veteran Latham Saddler and contractor Kelvin King.
Trump’s support will be key in a Republican primary.
In June, Walker tweeted a video that fed speculation he would run.
Titled “Georgia on mind,” the recording shows him revving the engine of a car with a Georgia license plate.
“I’m getting ready,” he says. “And we can run with the big dogs.”
State election officials opened an investigation into Blanchard’s residency after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that records show she voted in Georgia despite living in Texas.
A case sheet obtained by the AP shows the Secretary of State’s office opened the investigation into Blanchard on Aug. 10.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.