Back to school: Herschel Walker is taking classes at UGA after Senate defeat

Herschel Walker speaks at his Senate runoff election night party at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Walker lost against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. (Arvin Temkar /


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Herschel Walker speaks at his Senate runoff election night party at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Walker lost against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. (Arvin Temkar /


ATHENS — Former football star Herschel Walker has reenrolled at the University of Georgia after his failed U.S. Senate bid, taking steps toward earning his college degree as he retreats from the public spotlight following his defeat.

The university’s registrar confirmed Thursday that Walker is taking summer courses at the school. A university official said the Republican was recently spotted at an academic adviser’s office at the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences.

A household name in Georgia long before he ran against Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Walker was an unavoidable figure during the 2022 midterm thanks to the more than $470 million spent during the campaign.

Since his December runoff defeat and the accounts of his chaotic campaign that followed, Walker has kept a far lower profile.

He has made only a few public appearances and hardly posted on social media. He’s shunned even conservative outlets that once lionized his bid for office.

His former aides and friends say they haven’t kept in touch with the candidate who once referred to his staff as “family.” One Walker ally said his return to school could be part of a quest to “reinvent himself.” Walker didn’t immediately comment.



Recruited to run for the Senate at former President Donald Trump’s urging, Walker’s campaign lurched from one crisis to another amid revelations about his history of violent behavior and infidelity, a knack for baffling statements and a pattern of exaggerations and lies.

Among those falsehoods was a claim that he graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. His campaign was forced to delete the false assertion from his website and materials, and acknowledge that Walker left the school after his junior year to play professional football.

At the time, Walker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a statement that he returned to Athens to complete his college degree after his stint with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL but “life and football got in the way.”

Walker was the only statewide Republican candidate in Georgia to lose in last year’s midterm, spurned by hundreds of thousands of swing voters who cast ballots for other GOP contenders but withheld support for the former football star.

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

Senior Georgia Republicans can now hardly bring up his name without a regretful tone, as more experienced candidates with closer ties to Gov. Brian Kemp and other victors stayed on the sidelines or got demolished by Walker in the GOP primary.

Meanwhile, Warnock has emerged as one of the nation’s most prominent Democrats after back-to-back victories in 2021 and 2022 in one of the nation’s premier battleground states that helped cement his party’s control of the Senate.

Walker’s return to school is among few details that have emerged about his post-defeat plans, as some Republicans worry that he could once again contend for statewide office in 2026 with Trump’s blessing.

Campaign finance records show that Walker has spent more than $1.5 million of what’s left in his campaign account to boost several of his favorite charities and political allies. He still has roughly $4.3 million left in the coffers.

One of his largest contributions was a $250,000 donation to the Horatio Alger Association, which bestowed him with one of its awards last year. This year, the foundation listed Walker and his wife as “eagle flight” sponsors for their largesse.

The Republican has also come under scrutiny over accusations that he directed more than half a million dollars in campaign contributions to one of his own businesses.

Emails first obtained by The Daily Beast and confirmed by the AJC reported that Walker asked Montana billionaire Dennis Washington for a $600,000 donation – and Walker told him to wire about $535,000 of the sum to a company he runs called HR Talent.

An aide to Washington said the money was ultimately returned after he asked for a refund when he realized the destination for the cash was to Walker’s personal account and not to his campaign, though the timeline for the transfer has remained unclear.

Walker has declined comment about both the transfer and an ethics complaint filed by a watchdog group seeking an investigation into the financial transaction.

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