By: Anoa Changa, NewsOne
Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock is not letting his opponent Herschel Walker off the hook regarding upcoming debates. In a new ad, the Georgia senator highlights Walker’s apparent refusal to commit to even one debate this fall.
At a recent campaign stop, Walker said he wasn’t dodging debates, but his team had not agreed upon dates and times for the dates. For his part, Walker has tried to claim that he isn’t going to do things the “traditional political way” but hasn’t provided an alternative suggestion.
Before the Georgia Republican primary, Walker talked a good game about taking on Warnock on the debate stage. Now it’s time to put up or shut up, and Walker can’t seem to commit.
Not debating his opponents in the Republican primary made strategic sense, given his steady lead. But in the general election, he is trailing the senator.
Walker may be a hometown football hero, but that’s not going to be enough on the debate stage where voters expect candidates to have actual answers to real challenges. Warnock faired well against Kelly Loeffler, who couldn’t utter coherent policy stances and overplayed her hand, calling the reverend a “radical liberal” 13 times in one debate.
There is a growing list of debates to which Warnock has also confirmed attendance. On Wednesday, he confirmed attendance at an October 13 debate sponsored by the Mercer University Center for Collaborative Journalism.
The senator has also accepted invitations to debates held by several newsrooms, including 11 Alive WXIA, Georgia Public Broadcasting and WTOC in Savannah, Warnock’s hometown.
In a statement, Warnock for Georgia campaign manager Quentin Fulks said that it’s important for Georgia voters to hear what the candidates have to say.
“I don’t know if Herschel Walker is scared for voters to hear what he has to say or scared for voters to hear that he’s unprepared to speak on the issues that matter most to the people of Georgia,” Fulks said. “There’s a clear choice in the race for Senate, and we hope Herschel Walker will be true to his word and commit to joining us at three debates.”
Georgia voters don’t seem to look too favorably on debate dodgers. Kwanza Hall went into the Georgia Democratic primary runoff for lieutenant governor the clear front runner and felt no need to debate his opponent Charlie Bailey. With an endorsement from Stacey Abrams, Bailey easily secured the party’s nomination.
Former Georgia Sen. David Perdue did not appear in his final debate against Jon Ossoff. Ossoff made use of that time and spoke directly to Georgia residents.
During the 2021 Senate runoff, Perdue lost his re-election bid and failed in his attempt to run for governor. Ossoff joined Warnock in the Senate.
A Warnock-Walker debate would put the former NFL player alongside a seasoned policy advocate. Even before entering office, the reverend worked alongside advocates addressing voting rights and criminal justice reform issues.
It’s entirely possible that Walker isn’t afraid to debate Warnock per se but that he doesn’t want to have to explain himself or his many outrageous claims and positions. If Walker doesn’t show up for any debates, Warnock will have a full block of time to share his views