As Georgia prepares for its most contentious election since the last one, a key figure has slipped out of the running as Republican Herschel Walker seeks to unseat Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock: former President Donald Trump.
Since an overwhelming rally in Peach state in March and a handful of failed primary elections against candidates who stood up to his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the state during the 2020 election, Trump has been visibly absent from the battleground state, though he has kept a steady presence in hard-fought ones Race across the country this election cycle.
The reason may be strategic, especially as there is mounting evidence that his influence tends to alienate independent voters and mobilize Democrats who have since sought out popular figures like former President Barack Obama to boost voter turnout and win the election Dodging President Joe Biden’s anemic approval ratings among independents.
A rumored rally ahead of the only reported debate between Warnock and Walker Constitution of the Atlanta Journal in September was never realized, at least one employee said so Washington Post Trump coming to Georgia was “the worst thing that can happen to Republican candidates down here.”
According to a recent report in Rolling Stone, some in the state have urged Trump not to hold a rally in the state ahead of the runoff, much to his annoyance as the former president reportedly believed his presence was “a positive outcome for Walker,” blaming experts and Republicans who oppose his presence as “unintelligent Trump haters.”
But others have publicly warned him to stay out of the spotlight so as not to jeopardize Walker’s chances there, after coming off two straight defeats in Georgia’s special elections widely viewed as referendums on Trump’s influence on national politics .
Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan tweeted that Trump “sucked the life out of” the Republican Party this cycle, jeopardizing the GOP’s chances of taking control of the Senate, and later writing for CNN that Walker is more focused on non-liabilities like the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, whose momentum is growing as party leader.
Walker, Duncan wrote, should “call Mar-a-Lago and ask Trump to stay home,” saying that while Trump’s support helped help Walker win the primary, it should be Walker’s main priority to convince voters outside his base to support him.
“Our state’s growing population, particularly in the northern Atlanta suburbs, has forced Republicans to run different types of campaigns than they have done in years past, with messages tailored to swing voters,” Duncan wrote in the CNN statement.
Others, like Georgian activist Cole Muzio, wrote on Twitter that some activists spoke to him about what it would take to keep Trump out of Georgia, saying that “more moderate” officials like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — who particularly opposed Trump’s efforts to change the results of the state’s presidential election in the 2020 opposed the real key to securing a state victory for the GOP.
“Everything depends on Herschel Walker and Georgia,” Jason Miller, a senior Trump adviser, told right-wing news outlet Newsmax this month ahead of Trump’s recent announcement that he would run for president again in 2024.
“I advise the President to wait until after the Georgia race, after Herschel Walker,” he added. “It’s bigger than anything else in the country.”
Democrats, meanwhile, can only pray for the former president to get involved.
After Trump specifically shouted out Walker in his announcement speech earlier this month, the Warnock campaign released an ad that was merely a reiteration of Trump supporting the former soccer star from the podium at Mar-a-Lago, an attempt by the Warnock campaign to To tie Walker’s politics to Trump, and not to the mainstream Republicans who served as Walker’s surrogate in the run-up to December’s election.
“Stop Donald Trump,” the ad concluded. “Stop Herschel Walker.”
news week has reached out to the Walker campaign for comment.