Former football star Herschel Walker won the Republican nomination for Senate in Georgia on Tuesday, setting him up to run against the state’s incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who was elected in a special election runoff in January 2021.

Walker was backed by both former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his campaign in a race that is a key part of Republicans' efforts to win a Senate majority.

If Republicans can net a single Senate seat in November, a win in Georgia would flip the chamber to their control. President Joe Biden won the state in 2020, making him the first Democratic nominee to do so since 1992. And two Republican senators subsequently lost a January runoff election after Trump made unfounded claims the election was stolen, signaling that the once-red bastion is becoming more of a swing state.


Walker is a legend in the state for his athletic career at both the University of Georgia and in the NFL, but some baggage in his personal life made McConnell reportedly hesitant to endorse Walker before ultimately doing so. Walker allegedly threatened the lives of two women, including his ex-wife.

Cindy Grossman, Walker’s ex-wife, said in divorce filings that he was physically abusive and threatened her life. Grossman told ABC News in 2008 that Walker once pointed a pistol at her head and threatened to kill her, saying, “I’m going to blow your f***ing brains out.” Myka Dean, Walker’s ex-girlfriend, reportedly told police in 2012 that he threatened to “blow her head off” and then threatened to kill himself if she ended their relationship.

Walker’s campaign denied Dean’s allegations, but Walker has admitted episodes of violence with his ex-wife. In his memoir, he acknowledges that he had suicidal tendencies due to mental illness.

But Walker ran a campaign highlighting what he characterized as a recovery and redemption story and argued he has addressed the allegations, including in his memoir. Walker has claimed not to remember some of the allegations against him.


Some Republicans in the state fear the allegations may hurt their efforts to win the seat. The Cook Political Report has ranked the race as a toss-up, leaving little room for error for Republicans seeking to defeat Warnock. Polls in the race have alternately shown Walker or Warnock in the lead for the general election before the primary election.