Former president Donald Trump’s two remaining Georgia endorsees, Senate candidate Herschel Walker and lieutenant governor hopeful state Sen. Burt Jones met up outside a Smyrna gun store Thursday evening as the sun set on the state’s penultimate day of early voting.
Republican nominee Walker is neck-and-neck with Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, while polls show Jones holds a single-digit lead over his opponent, attorney Charlie Bailey.
“For those that haven’t voted, you better get out and vote and get your friends to go with you to vote, and make some friends and go out and vote. We’ve got to change his world, and we can change it together,” Walker said.
Walker characterized Warnock as a rubber stamp for the Democratic agenda and said he bears responsibility for problems like inflation and the military using pronouns. Herschel Walker. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder
“After just two short years, y’all see what they’ve given us,” he said. “We can’t take six more of this. We can’t take six more of this. We can stop it. It’s up to us.”
Walker, a former star running back, has been close with the former president since he played for the Trump-owned New Jersey Generals in the short-lived United States Football League. Trump’s endorsement, along with Walker’s star power, propelled the former running back over a slate of more traditional candidates in the GOP primary, but his campaign has been plagued by negative stories, including accusations of domestic violence and paying for former girlfriends’ abortions despite his public anti-abortion stance.
Bailey has sought to paint Jones as a Trump crony after outgoing Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan stripped Jones of his leadership positions following his role in supporting Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in Georgia. Jones was one of 16 fake electors who signed bogus documents claiming that Trump won Georgia’s 2020 election.
Jones has said he did nothing wrong and was simply laying legal groundwork in case Trump had won his lawsuits against the state.
Trump’s No. 1 target, Gov. Brian Kemp, easily survived a challenge from the Trump-backed former Sen. David Perdue, and is facing a rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Speaking to a friendly crowd Thursday, Jones said President Joe Biden and Democrats’ focus on the 2020 election backlash is out of step with what Americans want to see from their government.
“We have open borders, we have 40-year inflation right now, when you have a situation where people are struggling to pay their light bills, to pay at the gas pump, pay the grocery bills, and (Biden) is talking about 2020 and some group of people that are trying to overthrow democracy,” he said. “There’s nobody trying to overthrow democracy. We love this country. And we’re looking to take this country back in control.”
With control of the Senate at stake, the national parties have gone all out to pitch candidates on Georgia screens, billboards and junk mail, and the cost has grown staggering.
Walker has raised more than $37.7 million since March 2021, according to Federal Election Commission filings, while Warnock’s campaign has brought in a cool $123.5 million since December 2020.
The super PAC aligned with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has spent a record amount advertising for GOP Senate candidates this cycle, according to AdImpact.
The Senate Leadership Fund has “become the highest-spending advertiser” AdImpact, started in 2014, has ever reported on, according to data it released Thursday. The numbers show the GOP group has spent about $178 million on advertising in five key U.S. Senate races—Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania—that will likely determine control of the chamber following next week’s midterm elections.
“Senate Leadership Fund tops issue group spending in Senate races, with a total of $205M pooled across nine Senate races,” AdImpact wrote.
“The next highest spending issue group in Senate races is the Democratic counterpart to SLF, Senate Majority PAC with $139M across seven different Senate races,” the organization wrote, noting that “Senate Majority PAC was consistently outspending Senate Leadership Fund until September, but SLF has since placed over $202M between September and November.”
The GOP super PAC has spent $42 million in Georgia. A super PAC is a political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, to campaign independently for candidates.
Warnock has also been spending the final days of the election crisscrossing the state. In a Wednesday appearance on “The Daily Show,” he criticized Walker as an empty candidate devoid of ideas.
“Well in my case, my opponent hasn’t promised a thing,” he said. “I mean, think about it. I mean that, and I’m not being flippant. I want you to think. What has he actually promised to do? While we are paying record prices at the pump, at the pharmaceutical counter, at the grocery store, they are literally experiencing record profits. And so the question is, who’s gonna do something about it? Who cares about ordinary people?”
States Newsroom Washington correspondent Jennifer Shutt contributed to this article.
Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.