Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, an anti-abortion politician convinced by a former girlfriend of encouraging and paying for his abortion in 2009, used his only debate against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock on Friday to deny his earlier support for a pure and simple national abortion. to forbid.
The former college football and NFL star, who is endorsed by Donald Trump, was asked about his support for “a comprehensive national ban”. He said the moderator misspoke his position. This contradicted statements made repeatedly during the election campaign, including in July when Walker said it was “a problem” that no nationwide ban existed.
Walker also responded to an attack by Warnock over his past claims that he was a law enforcement officer by producing what he said was a police badge.
Warnock said: ‘You can support the police like I have… while holding the police, like all professions, accountable. One thing I didn’t do, I never pretended to be a policeman. And I never, I never threatened a shootout with the police.
Saying “I have to answer this”, Walker produced his badge.
Walker was never a trained law enforcement officer, although he has law enforcement endorsements.
As Walker waved his badge, the debate moderator said, “Mr. Walker, Mr. Walker – excuse me, Mr. Walker. I must let you know, Mr. Walker, that you know the rules very well tonight. And you have an accessory that is not allowed. Sir, I asked you to put this accessory away.
Walker did not immediately.
The moderator said, “Excuse me, sir. You know the rules very well, don’t you? »
Walker said, “Well, let’s talk about the truth.”
Walker is apparent battle with the truth about abortion became a theme of the midterm elections. On Friday, he said his stance was the same as Georgia state law, a so-called heartbeat bill that bans abortion at six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. This law came into effect this year after the United States Supreme Court struck down the right to abortion.
The heated exchange about abortion was one of many that highlighted stark differences between Warnock and Walker. Warnock did not directly address the Walker allegation pay for an abortion, leaving moderators to get a categorical denial. Walker criticized Warnock for being a Baptist pastor who supports abortion rights.
“Instead of aborting these babies, why don’t you baptize these babies?” he said.
Warnock said “God gave us a choice and I respect a woman’s right to make a decision”, adding that Walker “wants to give politicians more power than God has”.
Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won their Senate seats in a January 2021 special election, two months after Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by less than 12,000 votes. It was the first time in two decades Democrats won the federal election in the state, raising questions about whether Warnock can win again as Biden’s popularity wanes.
In-person voting begins Monday. The result will help determine control of the Senate, currently split 50-50.
On stage, Walker claimed Warnock was a Biden puppet, saying the election was about what they “did to you and your family” in an inflationary economy. Warnock said the election is about “who is willing to represent Georgia.”
Walker blamed Warnock and Biden for the inflation, but offered little when asked what he would do about it. Walker said the first step was to “get back” to energy independence rather than being dependent “on our enemies”. The United States has never been free of fossil fuel imports, some from countries like Russia.
Warnock highlighted Biden’s Cut Inflation Act, focusing on provisions he sponsored capping insulin and other healthcare costs, expanding the child tax credit and the infrastructure arrangements he led with Republicans. He offered some details on the next steps.
Warnock declined to say whether Biden, approaching 80, should seek re-election in 2024. Walker diverged from Trump, saying Biden legitimately won in 2020. But he said he would back Trump if he stood aside. was presenting in 2024. Walker and Warnock said they would. accept the result of their election.
The two men discussed their personal lives. A recent Daily Beast report leaked records of an abortion receipt and personal check from Walker to a woman who said he paid for her abortion. Walker’s denials continued even after the woman identified herself as the mother of one of his four children. Walker publicly acknowledged three children for the first time only after Beast reported.
Other reports detailed how Walker exaggerated academic achievements, business success, and philanthropic activities, as well as accusations that he threatened his ex-wife’s life beyond the details acknowledged in a 2008 memoir. In perhaps his most effective debating move, Warnock alluded to such stories.
“We’ll see time and time again tonight, as we always have, that my opponent has a problem with the truth,” Warnock said.
Dismissing reports that a foundation linked to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, of which he is senior pastor, evicted real estate tenants, Warnock said Walker was trying to “smear the name of Martin Luther’s church.” King”.
Walker pointed to his memoir, in which he detailed a diagnosis of dissociative personality disorder. Walker said he had “been transparent” and “continued[d] for help if i need help but i don’t need help. I’m doing well. I’m ready to lead today.
Walker declined three debates typical of the Georgian countryside. Savannah’s debate did not include libertarian Chase Oliver, who did not reach a voting threshold. Warnock will meet Oliver at a Sunday debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. Walker will be represented by an empty podium.