With less than a few months until the midterm elections, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is now campaigning for a full term after winning a runoff election last year, is calling the bluff on his Republican Senate challenger Herschel Walker for refusing any public debates before the election in November.
It’s a pattern that has highlighted the ex-football star’s campaign and given him success in the primaries, where Walker won by a significant margin while avoiding debates with his Republican rivals.
But it’s a move that political analysts say might not pay off in a general election, as his Democratic rival homes in on Walker’s absence when it comes to public debates.
In a television ad released by the Warnock campaign, Walker is noted to be “dodging” three debate invitations that Warnock readily accepted despite Walker having previously declared he was “ready to go” against Warnock.
Warnock’s campaign noted that Walker’s avoidance with debates puts into question whether he is “really ready to represent Georgia” on the national front.
“Reverend Warnock believes debates are an opportunity for Georgians to see the clear choice they have in this election,” Meredith Brasher, the spokesperson for the Warnock campaign, said.
“While Walker said over and over that he would participate in general election debates, the fact is he refuses to do so. He clearly isn’t ready to represent Georgians in the U.S. Senate,” she continued.
Democrats aren’t the only ones bringing more focus to Walker’s lack of debate experience, as Fox News anchors have hounded him on this issue while Republicans in Georgia have expressed concern over Walker’s political liabilities, which have tallied to include false claims of working in law enforcement and sketchy business interests.
“I think Walker is more likely to win by not debating,” Erick Erickson, a conservative talk radio host, said. “God help him against Warnock onstage.”
“How’s Herschel Walker going to stand up for Georgians in Washington if he won’t even stand on stage to debate me?” Warnock tweeted.
Georgia’s Senate elections is one of the most contentious races in the midterms this year, as Democrats will try to maintain the momentum they’ve gained through victories from Warnock and Joe Biden in the state after years of Republican dominance. Meanwhile, Republicans will be fighting hard to wrestle back what they perceive to be lost ground while maintaining their majorities in the governor’s seat and state legislature.