Herschel Walker: No, I don’t need to debate Warnock

Source: Hot Air

To clear up the title a bit, we should point out that Herschel Walker isn’t refusing to debate Raphael Warnock ever. This story deals with a debate that is slated to take place on October 13th in Macon, Georgia. He has accepted an invitation to debate Warnock the following night in Savannah. But the optics of this still aren’t great for Walker and the reason he gave for turning down the debate in Macon was, frankly, bizarre as well as factually inaccurate. It also provides Warnock with further ammunition to feed into a growing perception about Walker’s unwillingness to engage that really doesn’t seem to be that far off the mark. The following is from WMAZ Channel 13 in Georgia, one of the organizers of the debate Walker plans to skip.

Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker says he’s declined an invitation to participate in a debate in Macon against Senator Raphael Warnock.

During an appearance in Wrightsville on Friday, Walker said he has no plans to attend the Oct. 13 debate.

Warnock accepted the invitation to participate about a month ago. Walker’s campaign had not responded to the invitation since it was sent in June. On Friday, Walker said he has no plans to debate in Macon and explained why.

While explaining his decision, Walker claimed that nobody would wind up seeing the debate because “only two people gonna see it on a Sunday night, I think. NFL Football.” Typically a candidate would want the most exposure possible, so potentially low ratings might be an issue. Except that debate is not on Sunday. It’s on Thursday. The only game that night is Washington vs Chicago and it’s only available to stream on Amazon prime, so I doubt it will throw off too many potential viewers in Georgia.

Since there will be a debate the following night (assuming Walker goes through with it), perhaps this won’t be a huge deal. But the refusal gives Warnock yet another chance to claim that Walker is ducking him and afraid to confront the issues. It’s just one more in a long string of negative headlines and unforced errors that Herschel Walker didn’t need, particularly when most polls are showing Warnock with a small but consistent lead.

Walker refused all debates during the primary. That’s generally not a good look, but you could almost understand his decision. He had Donald Trump’s endorsement and a solid lead in every primary poll. Refusing to take on his primary opponents made him look as if he was afraid of the competition, but showing up would only offer his rivals a chance to tear him down.

The general election situation is almost entirely the opposite case. Walker is clearly somehow trailing Warnock in a state where Joe Biden’s popularity is riding somewhere in the vicinity of that of sewer rats. He should be taking every opportunity to publicly get in Warnock’s face and define the election as being about law and order, open borders, and unaffordable prices, all things that can be traced in a straight line to the policies put in place by Warnock’s party. But he doesn’t seem to be doing that at all.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Walker now has never-Trump Republicans pouring money into ads to try to defeat him. They are dredging up stories involving his ex-wife along with a series of lies or at least “misstatements” that Herschel Walker has made on the campaign trail regarding everything from his college education to his private-sector business associations. And Raphael Warnock is sitting back and eating it all up.

This race isn’t over, but it’s not looking good. Of all of the close Senate races in the country this year, Georgia should have been one of the absolute best opportunities to flip a Democratic seat. Herschel Walker is a political rookie who was, in my opinion, insufficiently vetted before being awarded the Trump seal of approval and he’s been making rookie mistakes. He needs to find a way to turn this around quickly or his political career will be far, far shorter than his days in the NFL.