We live in strange times for a number of reasons. Five years ago, Donald Trump showed us that just about anybody can win an election in the United States if they can generate enough television coverage. While Trump was far from the first celebrity to eventually run for political office, the former president is now the most noteworthy example of someone that successfully made the career change.
Despite having been soundly defeated in his re-election bid last year, Trump is still the most popular figure within the Republican Party. There are plenty of GOP politicians and voters that would prefer to move on from Trump now that he is out of power, but the 45th POTUS has retained a firm grasp on his own party in the months since leaving Washington.
Shortly after Trump was vanquished last November, all eyes watching the American political landscape quickly shifted to Georgia. Both of the Peach State’s US Senate seats came up for election last year, but no candidate vying for either seat received a majority of the votes in November’s general election.
So, a runoff election was scheduled for January 5, with a pair of Republicans, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, fighting to keep their respective spots in the chamber. In the end, both were defeated by their Democratic challengers. Raphael Warnock beat Loeffler, while Jon Ossoff got the better of Perdue.
Democrats snatching both seats back effectively gave the party control of the Senate. The 100-person building is technically split 50-50, but Democrats control a majority by virtue of having won the presidential election.
However, Dems may not have that slimmest of majorities for very long. A number of Senate seats will come up for election again in 2022. That includes Warnock’s brand-new spot. Loeffler was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to replace the resignation of Johnny Isakson back in 2019. Because Warnock is serving the remainder of Isakson’s original six-year term, the seat will come up for election again next year.
Warnock will run to try and retain his seat, but he’ll face no shortage of challengers. Four candidates have already declared for the race, including former NFL running back Herschel Walker. Walker, an Atlanta native running as a Trump Republican, declared his candidacy just last week.
Can Walker actually win a seat in the Senate next year despite his lack of political experience?
Odds Against Walker Winning a Senate Seat
To Win (+170)
To Lose (-250)
After declaring his candidacy, Walker released a video detailing his humble upbringing in his home state. Walker grew up in a small town known as Wrightsville before going on to become a massive football star at the University of Georgia.
After a Heisman Trophy-winning career with the Bulldogs, Walker played in the USFL before he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1985. He would go on to earn a pair of Pro Bowl nominations over the course of 11 seasons in the league, but his pro career didn’t quite live up to expectations after he emerged as one of the best running backs in college football history.
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While he was a fine player, Walker is known most for being at the center of one of the biggest trades in NFL history. Back in 1989, Walker was shipped to the Minnesota Vikings in a blockbuster trade that included five players and six future draft picks heading back to Dallas. The Vikings believed Walker would ultimately prove to be the missing piece in the team’s quest to finally win a Super Bowl, but his production quickly declined after leaving the Cowboys.
Walker launched a brief mixed martial arts career after retiring from football, but he has become a more visible presence on the political scene in recent years. Walker publicly supported Republican Jack Kingston’s bid for the Republican nomination to Georgia’s Senate seat back in 2014 before endorsing GOP candidate Brian Kemp for governor in 2018.
Walker also supported Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. He had a speaking role at last year’s Republican National Convention, but his allegiance to Trump certainly didn’t die after the election. Walker has been outspoken in support of Trump’s false claims that voter fraud tipped the election in Biden’s favor. Walker has also spouted conspiracy theories about how it was actually Democrats, not Trump supporters, that attacked the US Capitol back on January 6.
GOP Divided on Walker’s Candidacy
Trump lobbied for months on behalf of Walker in an attempt to urge the former football star to run in Georgia’s upcoming Senate election. Walker formally entered the race on August 25 with a statement that said,
“Our country is at a crossroads, and I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore. In the United States Senate, I will stand up for conservative values and get our country moving in the right direction. It is time to have leaders in Washington who will fight to protect the American Dream for everybody.”
Political experience used to be a prerequisite when it came to running for a lofty elected office in the US, but those days may be in the rearview mirror. Trump won the presidency without having served a single day in a political role.
It’s also worth noting that football is massively popular, especially in the southeastern United States. Just last year, former college football coach Tommy Tuberville successfully ran for a Senate seat in Alabama despite having never held political office beforehand. Tuberville, who was endorsed by Trump, easily defeated incumbent Doug Jones last fall.
BREAKING: Republican Tommy Tuberville, a former Auburn University football coach, wins election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, beating incumbent Sen. Doug Jones. #APracecall#Election2020
Clearly, Trump and his acolytes think Georgia has similar potential. Walker has been a household name in the state for decades, so who’s to say he can’t win? Some within the party believe Walker’s status as a famous and outspoken African-American makes him an ideal candidate to go up against Warnock. Warnock is one of just three Black senators currently serving, and he is also the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
On the flip side, some are concerned that Walker’s candidacy could prove divisive and ultimately cost the Republicans the chance to win back a winnable seat. A recent Associated Press report surfaced detailing a number of sketchy incidents in Walker’s past, including threats of violence against his ex-wife.
Some Republicans, including radio host Erick Erickson, believe Walker has the potential to easily win the primary before losing in the general election. Erickson, who is based in Atlanta, recently wrote,
“I do not know a single credible Republican strategist in Georgia or Washington who thinks he can be beaten in the primary. I do not know a single credible Republican strategist who thinks he can win the general.”
Can Herschel Walker Win the Senate Race?
As you can see, the odds are stacked against Walker when it comes to winning a seat in the US Senate next year. Tuberville was able to win in Alabama because Alabama is a vastly more Republican-heavy state. The only reason Jones, a Democrat, even held the seat in the past was because the GOP challenger in that special election, Roy Moore, had a very, very dicey past.
While Alabama is deep red, Georgia is a purple state nowadays. Not only did both Democrats sweep the runoff election earlier this year, but Biden also claimed the state’s 16 electoral votes last fall. Biden only won the state by about 0.2 percentage points, but a win is a win.
Given Georgia’s electoral history, that’s a rather shocking outcome. Last year was the first time since 1992 that a Democrat won the state in a presidential election. Warnock and Ossoff also became the first Democratic Senators to represent Georgia since 2005.
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Clearly, if Walker wins the GOP primary, he’ll be up against it in the general election against Warnock. While Warnock himself only beat Loeffler by two percentage points in the runoff, Walker’s questionable track record and lack of political experience may make him a very weak candidate.
While the Republican-led state government has tried to restrict access to the ballot box since Democrats swept the recent elections, the state’s Democratic leaders have done an excellent job of turning out the vote of late. Voter turnout won’t be as high for a midterm election as it would be for a presidential election, but the scales are still justifiably tipped in favor of the Democrats here.
Walker’s name value may win him the Republican nomination, but winning the general election may be too much to ask. Bet against the former Heisman winner to win his state’s Senate seat next year at political betting sites.
Can Herschel Walker Win The Senate Race? –No (-250)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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