Herschel told Fox News host Brian Kilmead on July 27 that he is prepared to debate the Democratic candidate as long as it is in the right setting. Warnock has repeatedly called on Walker to discuss the state’s issues in front of an audience, but he said his opponent has not agreed.
“I’ve told him many times. I’m ready to debate him anytime, any day,” Walker told Kilmead. “I just want to make it for the fans, not about a political party or about some media and all he doing is talking.”
The Republican is lagging behind Warnock in the latest polls. Warnock leads Walker by 9 percentage points, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted between July 21 and July 24.
The Kilmead interview is not the first time the Heisman Trophy winner said he would face off with his opponent. Warnock released a campaign ad two days before Walker’s Fox News appearance.
In the ad, a reporter asks Walker if he “has an intention of dodging debates,” to which the Republican candidate replies, “I don’t dodge anything.” The ad also shows a clip of Walker saying he is ready whenever Warnock is ready.
However, the Democrat senator argued the contrary on Twitter after Walker’s Fox News interview.
“How’s Herschel Walker going to stand up for Georgians in Washington if he won’t even stand on stage to debate me?” Warnock wrote.
Warnock’s campaign said the incumbent accepted three debates so far that Walker has avoided.
“My dad taught me half of life is showing up,” he said in another tweet.
Walker was also heavily criticized for his comments on Twitter. Nearly 1,800 commenters responded to a video clip of his interview shared by liberal pundit Ron Filipkowski. Many of them pointed out that Walker doesn’t want to discuss politics at an election debate and that he referred to voters as fans.
“They must have worded it like he’s participating in a reality show when they recruited him to run for office. ‘You’ll do great, Hershel. All your fans from your playing days will vote to keep you in the game,'” wrote Twitter user @CaptTomseigler. “Just do what we say, okay? You don’t need to actually have ideas.”
It is not the first time that Walker has faced backlash for comments he has made on the campaign trail. Some of them have been downright lies.
For instance, the Republican candidate claimed he had storied law enforcement career that led him to a position in the FBI and graduated college near the top of his class, while reports show he dropped out after his junior year.
“I don’t know if Herschel Walker is scared for voters to hear what 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,” said Quentin Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager.
Despite failing to debate the state’s issues face to face with Warnock, Walker’s campaign has launched constant political attacks against his opponent.
In one of its latest releases, Walker’s campaign accused the incumbent of being soft on crime and working to make Georgia “more dangerous,” pointing to his support for ending cash bail and “blindly” supporting President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.
“Raphael Warnock has consistently worked to support criminals instead of keeping our communities safe,” said Walker campaign spokesperson Mallory Blount.
“Crime is rising across the country and Georgia is no exception. Atlanta has one of the highest crime rates in the country and Georgians are sick and tired of it. Warnock has done more for Joe Biden than law-abiding Georgians and it is time Georgia had a Senator who takes public safety seriously.”
However, Warnock’s campaign spokesperson Jackie Bush told Atlanta Black Star that Warnock has voted for more funding, training and resources for law enforcement agencies in Georgia, including $506.4 million more in federal law enforcement grants than the previous year.