Herschel Walker commits to a debate — or did he?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker addresses the media Wednesday after a campaign event at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker addresses the media Wednesday after a campaign event at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

ATHENS — Herschel Walker on Wednesday sounded ready to participate in an Atlanta Press Cub debate against Democrat Raphael Warnock on Oct. 16. But he left himself an out.

“If we negotiate and we got everything right, we’ll be debating on Oct. 16 and I’ll be ready to go,” the Republican told reporters who quizzed him repeatedly on the issue at a campaign stop in Athens.

And Walker also cautioned, “I don’t just do what they say. I’m running a campaign the way I want to run it.”

Walker has been saying for weeks that he would debate Warnock, but he hasn’t committed to a time or place. His remark about the Oct. 16 matchup was the most specific he has been.

Warnock has said he will participate in three debates across the state in advance of the Nov. 8 general election, including the press club faceoff.

Laurie Strauss, of the Atlanta Press Club, said she had been in touch with the Walker campaign as recently as Wednesday. They have been responsive, she said, but have not committed to participate yet.

Walker didn’t debate in the Senate GOP primary, which has stoked an interest in how the former football great would fare. It has left reporters and campaign watchers parsing his every word on the issue.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker spoke to a few dozen voters Wednesday during a campaign event at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker spoke to a few dozen voters Wednesday during a campaign event at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Combined ShapeCaption
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker spoke to a few dozen voters Wednesday during a campaign event at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. Miguel Martinez / miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Warnock’s campaign’s took aim at his latest remarks.

“To be clear, Herschel Walker still isn’t committing to debates,” said Quentin Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager. “Rev. Warnock believes that debates are a critical opportunity for Georgians to see the clear choice they have between him and Herschel Walker in this important election.”

Walker took questions from reporters following a campaign stop at the Northeast Georgia Livestock Barn in Athens. There he spoke to a few dozen farmers bidding on cows and goats in a dusty amphitheater.

“If you want lower taxes, you want school choice, you want public safety and you want someone who loves this country, I’m your choice,” he said