Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Democratic challenger Herschel Walker are about 15 minutes away from their first and only debate in Savannah.
The high-stakes matchup between the seasoned orator who delivered sermons on Sunday from the pupil of the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church and the state football legend could determine which party takes control of the US Senate next year.
The one-hour, invite-only, face-to-face event at a Savannah Marriott hotel could make or break the political newcomer’s campaign. The debate could amount to a Hail Mary pass for Walker, a seasoned athlete who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, if he is able to land a few verbal punches against his more experienced political opponent.
Georgia-based Democratic strategist David McLaughlin told the Washington Examine that the Walker campaign’s strategy will likely include beating “a few lines/zingers into Herschel Walker’s head that they can isolate and send out to make it appear he held his own or won the debate no matter how much he struggled with the English language over the course of the entire thing.”
Walker has been hit with a wave of negative headlines over the past two weeks, stemming from a Daily Beast article that uncovered Walker, a Republican running on a strict no-abortion agenda, paid for a former girlfriend’s abortion.
Walker’s son, Christian Walker, also took aim at his famous father, claiming in a pair of social media posts that the senior Walker is violent and untruthful, claims Walker strongly denies.
Over the summer, reports surfaced that Walker had fathered three children with three different women whom he had failed to mention. He was also accused of lying about his credentials and money he claimed he had given to charity.
Ahead of the debate, Walker tried to talk himself down to reporters, claiming he is “a country boy” and “not that smart.” He also claimed Warnock was going to show up at the debate and “embarrass me.”
Warnock, who won his seat two years ago in a special election, is hoping to secure a full six-year term in November. He has had his own share of challenges to overcome, including a divorce and messy custody battle, as well as claims that he is soft on crime, and that he will rubber stamp all of President Joe Biden’s policies.
Nexstar Media, which is broadcasting the debate, said about 10 million people are expected to tune in.