The Republican candidate in Georgia for president, Herschel Walker Tuesday, Senate delivered a 10-minute stump speech in which he didn’t tell any fresh tall tales, didn’t make any obvious errors, and let reporters see the entire thing.
Given how Mr. Walker’s campaign has been performing lately, what appeared to be a nonstory was actually news, and it seemed to reflect the efforts of a group of Republican operatives who swooped in to turn around his campaign after a string of unforced mistakes called into question his readiness for political prime time.
Speaking to more than 100 supporters, many of whom were wearing red University of Georgia jerseys or American flag T-shirts, Mr. Walker lamented the increase in migration at the southern U.S. border and charged that President Biden had wasted America’s energy independence. He also blamed the Biden administration for rising inflation. He claimed Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat he is opposing, “wants to vote with Joe Biden more than he wants to vote for Georgia.”
His campaign initially reacted by fortifying itself: For a number of weeks, it chose not to inform media of his public engagements and turned them away on several occasions when they showed up anyway.
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Mr. Walker was able to elicit jeers even when he rejected news coverage. He spoke vaguely and poorly about climate change and pollution during a Facebook live event on July 9; he suggested that Georgia’s “good air decides to float over” to China, dislodging China’s “bad air,” which then returns to Georgia, where “we had to clean that back up.”
Days later, the campaign revealed that it had hired a number of seasoned political operatives, including Gail Gitcho, a senior strategist who served as Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign’s communications director, as well as a few former top staffers to Georgia Republican Senate candidates.
The incident on Tuesday in Ocilla, which is three hours southeast of Atlanta, offered evidence that the new team was making a difference.
At an event with Tyler Harper, the Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner, Mr. Walker nodded to the numerous agricultural workers in the crowd while pointing out the higher cost of fuel. He also denounced Mr. Warnock’s support for special financial aid for Black farmers, calling it as discriminatory as the issue it was meant to address.
In response to cheers, Mr. Walker declared, “I’m going to stop Raphael Warnock.”
The event was one of many that the campaign planned to have over the coming weeks that were aimed at passionate Republican voting blocs and was touted as part of a series of campaign stops for “farmers and foresters.” Others will concentrate on veterans and law enforcement personnel, according to campaign spokesperson Mallory Blount.
Additionally, Mr. Walker seemed to change how he characterises his business career. In the past, he has claimed his company is the largest such firm, which is false. He then recounted his journey from an overweight boy in rural Wrightsville to a football hero, saying he had gone on to manage “one of the largest minority-owned chicken firms.”
Once, Mr. Walker strayed into allegorical terrain with a tale of heaven and hell, wherein hell ended up being the location of some Democrats’ campaigns.
Additionally, Mr. Walker made a veiled assault on Mr. Warnock by quoting the final words of “The Star-Spangled Banner”: “Every time that flag got ready to hit the ground, some dead hero laid against it because he loved his freedom,” he said.
People today have lost sight of who and what America truly is and what we stand for, he continued. “They want to split us apart. Sen. Raphael Warnock is one of the men I’m running against.
The senator worked with farmers and rural communities to reduce expenses and enhance mental health treatment to help them deal with challenges like natural disasters and the pandemic, according to Mr. Warnock’s campaign. “The people of Georgia see Reverend Warnock standing up for them in America. They are aware that they have a clear choice this November for the Senate, according to campaign spokeswoman Meredith Brasher.
State representative Dominic LaRiccia, whose district is 20 miles from Ocilla, said he had never seen Mr. Walker “live and in action” and appreciated his justification for running. (Mr. Walker had said, “I love Georgia and I love America.”)
However, he said he believed conservative Georgians would look past the damaging reports about Mr. Walker and vote for him as a dependable supporter of conservative policies in the Senate. Mr. LaRiccia acknowledged Mr. Walker’s difficult road thus far and added: “You want to be famous, not infamous.”
Agriculturist and farmer Carl Nichols of Tifton, Georgia, claimed to have heard Mr. Walker speak at a Future Farmers of America meeting in the past where he made a very oblique reference to “the decisions he’s made.”
Mr. Nichols claimed that he understood that to signify an admission of his shortcomings, whatever they may have been, and that this had won him over to Mr. Walker.
Regarding the specific revelations about Mr. Walker that have surfaced during the Senate campaign, Mr. Nichols said, “All this other stuff was not news to me.” “I had already heard it from him. He seems sincere to me – a man who would stand up and speak in public.