Warnock Stumps In Walker’s Hometown

At a formerly segregated school in Herschel Walker’s hometown, there was little love for him shown Monday night.

His opponent in Georgia’s Senate runoff, Raphael Warnock, spoke at a Wrightsville rally where more than 200 people had crowded into what was once the Dock Kemp School’s cafeteria and auditorium.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Georgia Republican Senatorial candidate Herschel Walker speaks at a campaign event in Carrollton, Ga., on Oct. 11, 2022. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

The crowd—all African American except for a few reporters and campaign staffers—cheered everything the incumbent Democrat said and laughed derisively at many mentions of Wrightsville, Georgia’s most famous son. The Johnson County Middle School and High School are located at 150 Herschel Walker Drive.

“I was his high school teacher and assistant football coach,” said Curtis Dixon, one of the speakers warming up the crowd for Warnock. On what Walker did to become a football great, Dixon said, “He’d say, ‘I trained, I worked hard, I did sit-ups.’”

“Ask him what he has done to become a senator. I’ll tell you: Not a blessed thing.”

“People ask, ‘Why aren’t black people supporting Herschel Walker?” Dixon said. “Because black people don’t think he’s the best candidate.”

“There’s a skill set,” he added. “As a football player, he was fast, he was big, he was strong. That won’t work in the Senate. He’s not ready.”

Dixon and other speakers pounded the point: Warnock is already ready because he’s been in the Senate for two years and has already gone through the learning curve. They said they needed someone who would walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King and John Lewis.

“We need someone with the institutional knowledge, not a freshman,” said the area’s state representative Mack Jackson. He pointed to Warnock’s work towards expanding Medicaid coverage and building Interstate-14 through south Georgia as concrete reasons to support the incumbent.

Dixon contrasted the controversies surrounding Walker—about his personal life and his honesty—with actions of Warnock’s, notably getting arrested at least twice for demonstrating for better health care.

“We need someone who’s going to cause some good trouble,” Dixon said.

Warnock, who made the trip about 150 miles from Atlanta, gave his stump speech—tailored, of course, for the unique circumstances of visiting his opponent’s hometown.

He told the crowd that growing up in the 1980s, he’d been a fan of Walker’s during his storied career at the University of Georgia, where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Bulldogs to a national championship.

“I saw what your favorite son did on the football field. That brother could razzle and dazzle you on the football field. And he deserves credit for that,” Warnock said. “But tonight, we’re on a different field. And the people of Georgia need a true champion.”

Walker had done a version of that earlier in the campaign when he made his proposal for a single debate with Warnock, held in the senator’s hometown of Savannah.

As he tends to, Warnock in his speech alluded only indirectly to Walker’s scandals—allegations of domestic violence and abuse, of neglect of the children he fathered out of wedlock, of abortions the pro-life candidate paid for; scandals that Warnock’s campaign has spent upwards of $100 million attacking with TV ads.

“This race is about competence and character,” Warnock said. He attacked controversial statements he said Walker had made—that diabetics, whom Warnock has championed in capping the cost of insulin, should eat better or that most people with a job have health insurance.

That Walker believes the latter is true when 600,000 Georgians still don’t have health insurance “means there are people he can’t see,” Warnock said.

“Those who know Herschel Walker best know he isn’t ready,” Warnock told reporters after his speech. “They’re not talking out of malice but out of concern.”

Johnson County, where Wrightsville is located, went 74 percent for Walker and 26 percent for Warnock. The 2020 census showed it 63 percent white and 33 percent black. Wrightsville itself is majority black by a narrow margin.

Jerronney Darisaw, a county commissioner who spoke about his brother being killed in a racial incident during segregation, noted that regardless of who won, “Johnson County will have a senator. Just don’t forget about Johnson County. Don’t come here just when you need something.”

“Amen!” folks in the crowd said.

Later, as Warnock wrapped up his speech, he seemed to be responding to that. He said that if he wins, “I’ll be back again and again and again. Because I am a champion of ordinary people.”

In another campaign-related development, a judge on Monday denied the state’s appeal of a court’s earlier ruling allowing early voting this Saturday, Nov. 26, which the state had first announced would be permitted, then reversed its decision on. Warnock’s campaign and state and federal campaigns had sued to obtain legal clearance for the extra day of early voting, which is, however, actually instituted on a county-by-county basis.

Early voting begins statewide on Monday, Nov. 28.

Warnock edged Walker in the general election on Nov. 8, but neither obtained more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the runoff. Warnock, in his stump speech, notes this will be the fifth time in two years he’s been on the ballot for the same office.

Dan M. Berger

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