Trump-backed Herschel Walker seeks Georgia Senate seat

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Trump, Herschel Walker

FILE – In this May 29, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, and his daughter Ivanka Trump, right, watch as former football player Herschel Walker, center, throws a football during White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. On Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, Walker filed paperwork to enter the U.S. Senate race in Georgia after months of speculation, joining other Republicans seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

ATLANTA (AP) – Herschel Walker on Tuesday filed paperwork to enter the U.S. Senate race in Georgia after months of speculation, joining other Republicans seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022.

The 59-year-old Walker joins the race with high name recognition, known for winning a Heisman Trophy in 1982 as a University of Georgia running back. Perhaps more importantly in today’s Republican Party, he carries the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Walker has never run for office and will likely face scrutiny over past struggles with mental illness as well as policy stances. But if he emerges from the Republican primary, the Senate contest would feature two Black men vying for a seat in the heart of the Deep South.

FILE – In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Herschel Walker talks about 150 years of college football during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Day in Hoover, Ala. Walker appears to have a coveted political profile for a potential Senate candidate in Georgia. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

Walker stayed mum Tuesday, continuing a pattern of few comments even as he started taking steps to put a Senate bid in motion. He registered to vote last week at an Atlanta house owned by his wife, Julie Blanchard. Walker signed Federal Election Commission papers Tuesday declaring his candidacy, allowing him to raise money for a Senate run.

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. Some other potential GOP candidates may not run with Walker’s entry into the race, including former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost a to Warnock in a January special election runoff, and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a four-term congressman from near Savannah.

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