As Walker faces new abortion claim, a familiar pattern emerges among his allies

CUMMING — There was almost a sense of routine among Herschel Walker and his supporters during his first major rally since another round of damaging allegations was leveled against him.

Just as he did with past scandals, the Republican U.S. Senate hopeful denied claims from a second woman who on Wednesday said the former football star pressed her to have an abortion despite his outspoken opposition to the procedure.

National Republicans rallied around him, saying he is a redeemed figure under attack from vengeful Democrats and their allies days before a matchup against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

And GOP voters who flocked to his event Thursday, held outside a cigar shop in Atlanta’s exurbs, said the latest development won’t change their minds about him.

“That’s all the Democrats do. All they do is come out with these people at the last minute and try to make our candidates look bad,” said Vernon Harris, among the several hundred supporters who attended the event. “It’s straight out of their playbook.”

The woman, who remained anonymous, said she came forward because she was infuriated that Walker denied a similar accusation from another ex-girlfriend. She spoke at a press conference arranged by well-known Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred.

“Herschel Walker is a hypocrite, and he is not fit to be a U.S. senator. We don’t need people in the U.S. Senate who profess one thing and do another,” the woman said. “Herschel Walker says he is against women having abortions, but he pressured me to have one.”

Walker, who immediately called the woman’s allegations “a lie,” didn’t directly address them or take questions during his campaign appearance. Instead, he largely delivered a typical stump speech that included barbed attacks against Warnock.

“God prepared me for a moment like this. Because Sen. Warnock and all the left is all campaigning right now. They’re lying to you,” he said, adding that his opponents underestimate him.

“They don’t realize that I’m not a politician,” Walker said. “I don’t look like one. I don’t talk like one. I don’t act like one because I’m that warrior for God.”

Democrats aren’t taking it lightly. Warnock’s campaign has aired ads labeling Walker as a hypocrite because of his outspoken support for a total ban on abortion, even in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman is at stake.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign has aired ads labeling Republican Herschel Walker as a hypocrite because while he has supported for a total ban on abortion, he is accused of paying for abortions for two women he was involved with. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

And Warnock’s campaign released a statement that invoked Walker’s pattern of violent behavior, falsehoods on the campaign trail, and exaggerations about his business experience and academic record.

“We know Herschel Walker has a problem with the truth, a problem answering questions and a problem taking responsibility for his actions,” said Warnock deputy Rachel Petri, who said it’s an example of a “troubling pattern” that repeats itself.

“Herscel Walker shouldn’t be representing Georgians in the U.S. Senate,” she said.

Cloaked in religion

At the Cumming rally, it was left to Walker’s allies to confront the allegation, which came weeks after another woman accused Walker of paying for her 2009 abortion and urging her to undergo the procedure a second time.

Walker denied that claim, too, and threatened to bring a defamation lawsuit that he still hasn’t filed.

Dr. Rich McCormick, the GOP nominee for the heavily Republican 6th Congressional District, framed his support for Walker in religious terms.

“If people want to criticize him for his faults, we all have a lot of reckoning to be doing,” McCormick said. “Anybody go to church out there? I go to church because I need grace, and I’ll tell you one of the greatest redemption stories I’ve ever heard is Herschel Walker.”

Then he appealed to skeptical Republicans to view a vote for Walker as a vote against Democratic policies.

“The one thing that matters to me when it comes to our next U.S. senator here in Georgia is that he votes right,” McCormick said. “Herschel Walker will vote right.”

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham joined other national Republicans by insulting Allred, who has built her reputation on representing women in cases involving high-profile men.

He attacked the allegation as a shoddy accusation “they’re throwing at you coming from Los Angeles 13 days before an election.” And he told the crowd the Washington political establishment is “afraid” of the Georgia Republican.

“Because if Herschel Walker wins, that means we’re not racist. And if you’re Republican, aren’t you tired of being called racist by everyone?” he said to applause and hoots of “amen” from the mostly white crowd.

One key Republican hasn’t rushed to Walker’s defense. Asked on Fox News late Wednesday about Walker’s electoral chances, Gov. Brian Kemp sidestepped the question.

“I’m working on getting the whole ticket across the finish line. The Democrats have been beating us on the ground here for several cycles,” he said. “I watched that happen in 2020, and we’re not going to let that happen again in 2022.”