Sen. Raphael Warnock is betting that former President Donald Trump is so toxic in Georgia, the Democrat is running a new ad that simply repeats the ex-president’s endorsement of Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
Mr. Trump went to bat for Mr. Walker, a former football star, on Tuesday night while announcing a 2024 presidential bid.
“We must all work very hard for a gentleman and a great person named Herschel Walker, a fabulous human being who loves our country and who will be a great United States senator,” Mr. Trump says in the 30-second ad. “He was an incredible athlete. He’ll be an even better senator.”
Some in the GOP wanted Mr. Trump to delay his campaign announcement, fearing it would have a deleterious impact on the Georgia Senate runoff in early December.
Mr. Trump lost Georgia to President Biden in 2020, and the GOP lost two Senate seats in January 2021 runoffs, leading to a Democratic majority.
The Warnock campaign clearly believes that Mr. Trump’s role in bolstering Mr. Walker will help Democrats repeat the feat this time around.
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Democrats are assured of the Senate majority in a 50-50 chamber if Mr. Walker wins, though they’d like to get breathing room in a 51-49 chamber through a Warnock victory.
The new Warnock ad reminds voters that the runoff takes place Dec. 6.
“Stop Donald Trump. Stop Herschel Walker,” the ad says after Mr. Trump’s comments.
The Warnock campaign also said expanded field operations will include direct voter-contact programs in 18 counties, with 19 offices and more than 900 paid staffers.
And it is rolling out an ad that features voters who opted for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp this month but couldn’t stomach Mr. Walker.
Mr. Walker is linking Mr. Warnock to the president and concerns about inflation and crime, while putting some distance between himself and Mr. Trump.
“This is not Trump’s race, this is Herschel Walker’s race,” Mr. Walker told Fox Business. “President Trump endorsed me, I thank him for it. Leader [Mitch] McConnell endorsed me, I thank him for it. But Herschel Walker is running this race here.”
His campaign, meanwhile, has warned Georgia voters to avoid a repeat of losses in 2021. Recent fundraising pitches outline the stakes.
“Raphael Warnock‘s runoff win last year is why Democrats control the Senate today,” the Walker campaign said Thursday in an email asking supporters for “just $5.”
“All eyes are on Georgia,” he said in the email. “If I lose this runoff, Democrats will have a 51-seat majority where the most radical proposals will succeed.”
Republicans secured the House majority when races were called late Wednesday, meaning there will be a check on President Biden and his Democratic agenda in the Congress that starts in January.