About the Herschel Walker Story

Erick-Woods Erickson

So, to start, can I just say the reactions to me tweeting about this story are a bit nuts. I don’t think I’m supposed to carry water for anyone. But people on the right are infuriated that I’m not standing by their man. People on the left are infuriated that I am not throwing Walker under the bus. All I’m trying to do is tell you guys what’s going on, give you some analysis, and tell you what I think about the situation while you can disagree with my opinion. Good grief. All that said…

If you haven’t heard, the Daily Beast claims it has the receipts on Herschel Walker paying for an abortion in 2009. Walker, for his part, denies it and claims he will file a defamation lawsuit this very day against the reporter. I thought it was a public claim made in the primary. But I was reminded that it was just, at the time, an unsubstantiated rumor. I had been told of the rumor, but the campaign in question could not get anything to substantiate it and chose not to do anything with it. I wasn’t going to run with another campaign’s unsourced rumor. Again, Walker is vehement that it did not happen and flat-out denies it.

Walker is running as a pro-life Republican against a very pro-abortion “Reverend,” Raphael Warnock.

The Daily Beast and Democrats are working hard not just to turn off independent voters from Walker. They are working to turn off Republican voters from Walker. This is the thing you have to understand. From the Daily Beast:

She supported these claims with a $575 receipt from the abortion clinic, a “get well” card from Walker, and a bank deposit receipt that included an image of a signed $700 personal check from Walker.

The woman said there was a $125 difference because she “ball-parked” the cost of an abortion after Googling the procedure and added on expenses such as travel and recovery costs.

Additionally, The Daily Beast independently corroborated details of the woman’s claims with a close friend she told at the time and who, according to the woman and the friend, took care of her in the days after the procedure.

The woman said Walker, who was not married at the time, told her it would be more convenient to terminate the pregnancy, saying it was “not the right time” for him to have a child. It was a feeling she shared, but what she didn’t know was that Walker had an out-of-wedlock child with another woman earlier that same year.

Warnock’s team has one of the most effective TV ad strategies in the country. A particularly devastating ad against Walker is an interview of Walker’s ex-wife on ABC’s Nightline about Walker holding a gun to her head and abusing her. You’d never know from the ad that Walker participating in the interview. It was about Walker’s battles with mental health and their shared attempt to raise awareness.

The context does not matter. It’s a damn powerful ad. That ad is having an impact on Christian women who don’t like Warnock but have so many doubts about Walker they may sit it out. Add to that his purported hypocrisy over abortion and the Warnock strategy seems very clear.

They are not trying to get people to vote for Warnock or against Walker. They are trying to get voters to just not vote in that race at all. Warnock thinks all the Democrats will vote for him. All the pro-abortion voters will vote for him. He wants the pro-lifers to just pass the race by and move on to Brian Kemp. He wants independent voters to pass over Walker too.

I’m not sure they will. But I am also not sure they won’t even if the allegation is from over a decade ago. Walker has not mounted a credible response to the initial ad, and we’ll see what evidence the Daily Beast has now. The Walker campaign seems to be struggling financially on top of everything else. Donald Trump has that $99 million just sitting there and has not yet spent any to help Walker. Meanwhile, Walker’s son appears to be giving up on Walker’s campaign.

Christian Walker has largely been a loud apologist for Trump’s behavior and a vocal supporter of his dad’s, despite all the previously revealed baggage. Then a switch flipped last night and that’s what got all the GOP types in Georgia flipping out.

The baggage had always been there. As I warned in the primary, Walker was the weakest possible candidate, but the GOP went with celebrity. That said, in the past two months, he turned his campaign around, upped his events and public appearances, and appeared to have some momentum in the polls. Not anymore. Georgia Republicans overnight were burning up my phone with text messages. It didn’t hit home for them until Christian Walker started his tweets, largely throwing his dad under the bus.

If Walker spends the next few weeks going after the media for the hit job, that takes him further off message. Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Adam Laxalt in Nevada are winning precisely because they’re on message against their Democratic opponents.

Walker needs to get an aggressive message out ASAP and move straight back into focusing on Warnock’s record if he is going to survive this. The response needs to be rapid and he needs to go straight back to making it about crime, the economy, and inflation — the three biggest issues Georgia voters care about. The forcefulness of Walker’s denial will matter to voters and he’s got to use it to pivot back to what is not a distraction to voters, their pocketbooks. And if he wants, he can tie it to Reverend Warnock’s own problems from running over his wife to trying to avoid a process server over child support, etc.

My gut is that voters in the metro Atlanta area are already comfortable splitting tickets and this could provide them their rationale for voting Warnock and voting Kemp. But these are also uncertain times and deep economic instability and voters pissed off at Washington could surprise us and make it about holding Democrats accountable even if they have to hold their nose for Walker. A month ago, I thought Walker was a sure thing. Now, I think he is less likely to win unless he mounts an immediate response. Georgia is not a deeply red state, and even Alabama elected Doug Jones instead of Roy Moore.

Herschel Walker will join me on radio next week and I’m sure we will talk about all of this.

And today on radio, I’ll obviously start with this story and all the developments of the morning. You can listen live starting at 12pm ET here.

Speaking of Abortion, It’s Mitigation for Democrats

The Washington PostPolitico, and New York Times are all running stories claiming the Democrats’ closing argument will about abortion and a Republican dystopia.

Monmonth University is the latest pollster out with a poll showing voters care about the economy and inflation.

What’s happening here is a mitigation strategy by the Democrats. They need to hold as many seats as they can. They know the House is gone. They just don’t know by how many seats. And there is a chance they will hold the Senate.

So by playing up abortion, Democrats are trying to maximize their voters in blue and slightly blue districts so the GOP only gets a 10 to 20 seat House majority instead of a 30 to 40 seat House majority.

The problem is that it is hard to target those seats so specifically, and some neighboring seats are inevitably going to fall to the GOP because the Democrats are talking about killing kids instead of talking about the economy.

But, to be fair, it is the best hand they have in this midterm cycle.

Who keeps a receipt from a 2009 abortion? That’s kind of odd, isn’t it?

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