The Jolt: Star of Raphael Warnock’s ‘puppy ad’ is back — for Herschel Walker’s campaign

News and information from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Alvin the Beagle" is featured in Herschel Walker's latest campaign video

Credit: Patricia Murphy

Credit: Patricia Murphy

"Alvin the Beagle" is featured in Herschel Walker's latest campaign video

Alvin the Beagle is back. Just not in the way you’d expect.

The pugnacious puppy was the centerpiece of U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s successful ad campaign during his 2020 bid for office, helping to give the Democratic pastor a feel-good aura at a time when Republicans labeled him a “radical socialist.”

Now Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker’s campaign is using the precious pooch against Warnock with a digital ad claiming Alvin “disappeared” as a weepy Sarah McLachlan song plays.

“If @ReverendWarnock is willing to lie about having a dog,” Walker tweeted, “what else is he hiding?”

In reality, Alvin is alive, well, and still living in Georgia, but not with Warnock.

The senator never said he owned the dog and, as Georgians need little reminder, campaign ads often use props to make a provocative point. “Jake” wasn’t really a suitor for Gov. Brian Kemp’s daughter. And David Perdue only rarely wore that jean jacket.

Much attention immediately focused on whether McLachlan would seek to take down the ad because it featured the unauthorized use of her song “Angel,” which served as the soundtrack for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spots in the late 2000s.

We reached out to McLachlan’s managers and will update if we hear back.

In the meantime, the video includes a number to call if you see Alvin, which rings to Warnock’s Atlanta Senate office.


NOTABLE FUNDRAISER. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell might be lowering expectations for his party’s chances of retaking the chamber, but we have more evidence the Republican leader isn’t abandoning Georgia.

Officials say McConnell is planning to hold a fundraiser with Herschel Walker later this week. That comes a few days after the Kentucky Republican vented worries that “candidate quality” could jeopardize GOP chances of flipping the Senate.


ATT’N VOTERS: Monday was the first day for Georgians to request an absentee ballot for the November elections.

But you’ll notice several new procedures as you make your request. Language passed in Senate Bill 202 now requires a “wet signature” for applications, meaning voters will need to print forms out and sign them, and then either upload, fax, mail, or deliver the request form to their county registrar’s office.

New this year also: Applications must include a driver’s license number, a state ID number, or other form of acceptable identification.


ON A LIMB. Herschel Walker’s comments panning green sections in the federal climate and healthcare measure, which we brought to you in Monday’s jolt, garnered national attention and led the Republican to push back.

“Yes you heard me right,” Walker tweeted, “Joe Biden and @Reverend Warnock are spending $1.5 billion on ‘urban forestry’ … Yes, I have a problem with that.”

The climate portion of the measure includes billions of dollars in incentives to boost the electric vehicle industry, encourage renewable energy, and spends $150 million per year on “urban forests,” a plan to plant trees in cities like Atlanta where rapid development has stripped out established trees and increased flooding for residents.

Walker on Sunday panned spending that’s “going to trees” and added: “Don’t we have enough trees around here?” to relative silence from a crowd of supporters at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Sandy Springs.

Among the responses was from Democratic operative Paul Begala, who said Warnock allies “making ads against Herschel Walker must feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony: everywhere they land is fertile territory.”


HOMELESS HIT. At the same event, Herschel Walker also accused U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Ebenezer Baptist Church of not doing enough to help the homeless.

“What about the homeless people out on the street here?” Walker asked. “Across from the guy running again? Have you seen his church? Have you seen the people across the street from his church, the homeless people there? Is he helping them?”

Walker may be talking about a literal homeless shelter-- the Bashor Men’s Homeless Shelter-- which is operated by an all-volunteer staff across the street from Ebenezer through Central Presbyterian Church.

Separately, Ebenezer is a part of a community resources collaborative program that provides housing aid, free health services, food and school supplies to needy Georgians.


GUN BATTLE. Not long after a deadly shooting at the Colony Square complex in Midtown paralyzed part of Atlanta, Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted how “common-sense, pro-business policies” helped attract the College Football Playoff title game to the city in 2025.

That prompted Stacey Abrams’ top aide Lauren Groh-Wargo to blast Kemp for reducing gun restrictions in the state.

“I guess Kemp is just so used to gun violence in our state he can just pretend nothing happened today and post about football,” she said.

Kemp did, indeed, soon remark on the shootings, saying he was heartbroken by the “senseless” killings while thanking law enforcement for the response.


GAY MARRIAGE. A group of LGBTQ state legislators warned Monday that gay rights would be under assault under a second term of Gov. Brian Kemp if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage.

State Reps. Karla Drenner and Sam Park were among the Democrats at an event at the state Capitol who said they worry that Kemp would support reverting to a Georgia constitutional amendment adopted in 2004 that bans same-sex marriage if the legal precedent is overturned.

“Brian Kemp will not hesitate to roll back the progress we made,” said Park, D-Gwinnett.

The governor has said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but his office said he also considers the issue “settled” – meaning he has no desire to revisit the debate.


TUESDAY ON THE TRAIL: With less than 80 days left until Election Day, it’s a busy day on the campaign trail.

  • Stacey Abrams starts a two-day South Georgia swing, with stops in St. Simons and Kingsland Tuesday, and Camilla Wednesday. Topics include Abrams’ climate proposals and plans to reduce health care and housing costs-- all without raising taxes, her campaign says;
  • Herschel Walker heads to the RNC field office in Albany for an event with Chris West, the GOP nominee in the 2nd Congressional District, and Black faith leaders to discuss crime prevention;
  • The White House Initiative’s Latino Economic Summit will be in all-important Gwinnett County to “highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment” to the Latino community, with outgoing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux;
  • U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff isn’t up for election, but he will be in Piedmont Park Tuesday for an event to highlight the passage of his bill to expand solar manufacturing.


ABRAMS’ GREEN IDEAS. Stacey Abrams will release a comprehensive environmental plan later this morning, which she’ll discuss at a climate roundtable in St. Simons.

A document shared with the AJC details her goals as governor “to ensure environmental protection and statewide resilience for Georgia.”

Tactics in the plan include capping consumers’ out-of-pocket energy costs, creating a “Green Development Energy Bank” to diversify the state’s energy system, creating efficiency targets for the state, and going after federal funds in the Inflation Reduction Act to update the state’s energy and transportation networks.


DEBATE DATE. Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidates have not agreed to a debate yet, but the candidates in Georgia’s most competitive House district now have a third debate on the books.

Along with two previously scheduled, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop and his GOP challenger, Chris West, have both also committed to a televised debate in October sponsored by Columbus TV station, WRBL.


OSSOFF’S JAIL PROBE. The leader of the union representing guards at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff days after watching a U.S. Senate hearing on issues at the facility.

Union members who work in the medium-security prison were “embarrassed” by the Senate Investigations Subcommittee’s investigation, they wrote. Ossoff, who once lived near the southeast Atlanta prison, is the panel’s chairman. The AJC’s Tia Mitchell and Asia Simone Burns also write that the union president chided Ossoff for speaking poorly about the security workers.

After receiving Morell Huguley’s letter, Ossoff gave him a call and the two spoke. Ossoff’s office also says he plans to take the union chief up on his offer to tour the penitentiary, although nothing has been scheduled yet.


BIG MONEY. Georgia’s new leadership committee law, created by Republicans, has opened the door for almost limitless money to flow into a few Georgia contests, the AJC’s James Salzer reports.

But Democrats are benefitting just as much as the GOP.

In just a few weeks this spring, Salzer writes that Abrams’ One Georgia leadership PAC received a $1.5 million donation from Fair Fight, the voting rights group she founded; $1 million from the Democratic governors’ association; and $2.5 million from Silicon Valley philanthropist and major Democratic donor Karla Jurvetson.

She also received $1 million each from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Elizabeth Simons, co-founder of the Heising-Simons Foundation; and Donald Sussman, an asset manager and philanthropist.


FAUCI OFF CALL. After nearly four decades serving as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he became the face of pandemic response, Dr. Anthony Fauci is stepping down.

Fauci, 81, announced Monday that he will relinquish his title as President Joe Biden’s chief health officer in December. In a statement, he said he was not retiring but did not indicate what he will do next.

Many GOP lawmakers immediately said Monday they still planned to investigate Fauci if they retake control of the House after the midterms, no matter his job status.

“Retirement won’t save Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight,” U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde wrote on Twitter. “@GOPoversight will hold Fauci accountable for his lies, corruption, and abuse of power.”


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