Kemp, Trump throw support behind Herschel Walker as GOP unites in push for Georgia runoff

Republicans are looking to hang on to keep a 50-50 split in the Senate with the upcoming Georgia run-off election between Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Herschel Walker, with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp joining the effort alongside others including former President Trump.

Kemp is expected to join Walker on the campaign trail this weekend in Cobb County, after distancing himself from the Senate race while he focused on his own re-election effort. 

“Herschel requested all the help we could get from the governor. The governor said I’m there for you,” Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise said.

Kemp’s decision to actively back Walker has him on the same team as Trump, who famously criticized the governor for not helping him overturn the state’s results in the 2020 election that had the Peach State for President Biden.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on Nov. 16, 2022, in McDonough, Georgia. 

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on Nov. 16, 2022, in McDonough, Georgia.  (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Trump praised Walker as “a fabulous human being” after announcing his own campaign for president. The former president’s big to take office again has been a source of division among Republicans. Even some GOP lawmakers traditionally supportive of Trump hoped he would delay an announcement until after the Georgia runoff, fearing his rhetoric could divide Republicans and drag down Walker in the process.

During the 2022 primaries, the majority of Trump-endorsed candidates were victorious, but many of his most important endorsements struggled and lost in the general elections. While Republicans barely secured enough wins to retake control of the House, they did not enjoy what was expected to be a “red wave” in the midterms. 

Kemp, meanwhile, was one of the party’s bright spots as he easily defeated Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in a high-profile race. The governor garnered 200,000 more votes than Walker from the same voting population – well above the margin that separated Walker and Warnock.

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Walker’s camp is happy to have all the support they can get from their party.

“Everybody realizes that regardless of any disagreements that do or don’t exist, everybody needs to focus on one thing: helping Herschel get across the finish line,” Paradise said. 

The Walker campaign manager said Republicans nationwide are “fired up” after a lackluster midterm showing, and that they will use that disappointment to rally support for their cause.

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“We’re very comfortable framing this as the last fight of ’22,” he said.

Walker is also getting support from the Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with longtime Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, The organization announced they are shelling out $14.2 million to run television, digital, and radio ads in the leadup to the Dec. 6 runoff election.

Fox News’s Tyler Olson, Brooke Singman, Paul Steinhauser, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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