Herschel Walker’s campaign raises $5.5M for Senate bid

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Republican Senate front-runner Herschel Walker said his campaign committees amassed $5.5 million the first three months of the year for his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

The campaign’s haul lags far behind Warnock, who collected $13.6 million during the first quarter. But Walker wound up with one of the highest fundraising totals of any Republican U.S. Senate candidate -- and far outpaced his GOP rivals in Georgia.

Walker’s campaign Friday said he received contributions from more than 50,000 donors from all 50 states and ends the quarter with roughly $7.4 million on hand.

“If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s putting my head down and going to work,” Walker said in a statement, adding: “The Republican nominee against Warnock will have to raise money and bring new voters to the table.”

A former football player, Walker has led his GOP primary opponents in every poll since he entered the race with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Since then, he’s also landed support from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and key Georgia figures.

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Walker’s sky-high name recognition has helped him remain atop the GOP polls despite new scrutiny into his past, including reports that have detailed violent incidents against women, a pattern of exaggerating his business record and falsehoods about his academic experience.

He’s ignored his GOP rivals and skipped debates and forums, running his campaign as if he’s in cruise control ahead of the May 24 showdown against rivals including Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, contractor Kelvin King and former Navy SEAL Latham Saddler.

His GOP opponents badly trailed him in fundraising. Saddler reported raising roughly $650,000 in the first quarter. King collected about $200,000 in that timeframe. Black, the best known of the Walker rivals, also took in about $200,000 and ended with less than $800,000 in his account. Both Black and King spent more than they raised over the last three months.

With a 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate, Georgia could once again determine control of the chamber. Warnock defeated former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a 2021 special election runoff, part of a Democratic sweep that flipped the Senate.

Walker’s Republican opponents have criticized his campaign strategy, accusing him of trying to run an “autograph tour” and warning that his background would render him unelectable in November against the Democratic incumbent.

But Warnock faces an uphill battle as he tries to rebuild the fragile electoral coalition that fueled his victory in 2021 amid rising inflation and souring approval ratings for President Joe Biden.

And Walker, who has raised nearly $15 million since launching his bid, has demonstrated he can raise the cash to compete with the Democrat in a general election if he wins the nomination.

“We have the resources to tell Georgians why they need to fire Senator Warnock,” said Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise, “and that’s exactly what we’ll do through November.”