On the Georgia trail: Walker dishes red meat ahead of Obama visit

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker’s stump speech has hardly changed for weeks, even as U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock ratchets up the pressure amid a surge of early voting turnout.

And Walker’s campaign event in Columbus on Thursday was no different. With former President Barack Obama set to rally the Democratic faithful in Atlanta, Walker stuck to a familiar script aimed at energizing core Republican supporters.

He compared Warnock’s debate performance to Scooby Doo, told anecdotes about his childhood, invoked his football playing days at the University of Georgia and attacked transgender athletes with a line that has reliably generated applause from his backers for months.

“Do you want me to compete against your daughter?”

Missing from Walker’s speech was a mention of Obama, who is making his second appearance for Warnock this campaign cycle. Earlier this week, Walker criticized the Democrat during a brief interview on Fox News.

“One of the things that they got to remember, President Obama is a celebrity, and that seems to be where Raphael Warnock’s getting his money from – celebrities,” Walker said.

The Democrat has vastly out-raised Walker throughout the campaign and collected $52 million over a roughly three-week span during parts of October and November. Much of his contributions are from small-dollar donors.

Walker, meanwhile, has depended on high-profile Republicans to help his campaign. U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott are mainstays on the trail with Walker. And he was set to be introduced Thursday by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who canceled because of a family issue.

Beset by blunders that have complicated his chances of a victory, Walker’s allies are urging supporters to keep the faith. Ralph Reed of the evangelical Faith and Freedom Coalition urged the Republican’s detractors to be lulled into a sense of complacency.

“Keep on underestimating this man. Keep on discounting him,” he told the crowd in Columbus. “Because I’ve got news for you — next Tuesday we’re going to be celebrating him as the next U.S. senator.”