On the Georgia Trail: Herschel Walker silent on white supremacist’s visit to Mar-a-Lago

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at The Mill on Etowah Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the AJC)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at The Mill on Etowah Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (Daniel Varnado/For the AJC)

CUMMING — Herschel Walker quoted Ricky Bobby from the movie “Talladega Nights.” And the Republican Georgia Senate candidate reminded supporters that the University of Georgia will play football this coming Saturday.

But Walker had nothing to say about the dinner date between his political patron, former president Donald Trump, and an avowed white supremacist and anti-Semite.

Walker hasn’t taken a question since early October from the reporters covering his campaign in Georgia and Monday was no exception. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution managed to shout a question to Walker as he walked back to his campaign bus following a rally in Forsyth County: “Do you have anything to say about Nick Fuentes’ visit to Trump at Mar-a-Lago?”

Walker waved but didn’t answer.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Brian Kemp denounced the meeting between Fuentes and Trump saying “racism, antisemitism and denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Republican Party and are completely un-American.”

Walker is walking a trickier line, trying to rev up Trump supporters to come back out for the Dec. 6 runoff and even weighing holding an online event with the former president.

Walker’s stops in Cumming and Toccoa on Monday came after nearly a week off the campaign trail in Georgia’s high-profile runoff race.

Dave Matthews talks with Sen. Raphael Warnock before a performance Monday evening, Nov. 28, 2022, at the Coca-Cola Roxy.  Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

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Credit: Ben Gray

Dave Matthews jams for Warnock

Three weeks ago, the Coca-Cola Roxy hosted Gov. Brian Kemp’s election night party. On Monday, it was the scene of a very different campaign event: A Dave Matthews concert to boost Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Hundreds packed the posh concert venue at the Battery Atlanta to take in the show, which was aimed at middle-aged swing voters who may be squeamish about Republican Herschel Walker.

Matthews called the GOP nominee “that guy from Texas” and praised Warnock as a “really, really decent man.”

“Tell everyone to vote for Senator Warnock — and tell them not to vote if they’re not gonna,” said Matthews, who delighted fans with hits including “Samurai Cop,” “Bartender” and “Ants Marching.”

It wasn’t Matthews’ first venture into politics this cycle. He also headlined events for Democratic Senate candidates John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and Tim Ryan in Ohio ahead of the midterm elections.

His history of backing other high-profile Democrats goes back to concerts for presidential nominee John Kerry during his failed bid against President George W. Bush in 2004.

Ossoff votes for ‘brother from another mother’

Two years ago, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock formed a tandem on the campaign trail that pulled off an unlikely sweep of U.S. Senate runoffs that flipped control of the chamber. Now Ossoff has emerged as one of Warnock’s key surrogates for his reelection campaign.

With no run of his own to worry about until 2026, Ossoff is one of the few high-profile Democrats who has joined Warnock on the campaign trail. Warnock, who won a special election in 2021, faces a Dec. 6 runoff against Herschel Walker for a full six-year term.

After casting his ballot for Warnock, who frequently calls Ossoff his “brother from another mother,” Ossoff spoke of the need for Democrats to expand their majority in the Senate by winning a crucial 51st seat.

“The ability for us to legislate obviously depends on having more paths to passage of crucial legislation,” he said.

“But I think that this race is less about the national balance of power and more about the contrast in character, preparedness and integrity between Sen. Rev. Warnock and his opponent.”

He said Warnock, who has emphasized his knack for bipartisanship, has “earned universal respect on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.”

“He has been a highly effective, pragmatic, diligent legislator who has put Georgia ahead of himself and his political party,” Ossoff said. “This is really about the quality of representation that Georgia deserves.”