Following months of speculation, Herschel Walker, the legendary former NFL running back, Heisman trophy winner and MMA fighter, announced his campaign for United States Senate in Georgia.
Walker, who revealed that he “can’t sit on the sidelines anymore” during his announcement Wednesday, will attempt to beat Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in 2022.
“America is the greatest country in the world, but too many politicians in Washington are afraid to say that,” Walker said in his first statement as a Senate candidate. “Where else could a poor kid from a small town in Georgia become valedictorian of his high school, earn the Heisman Trophy, play professional football, represent the United States in the Olympics, and become CEO of multiple companies? I have lived the American Dream, but I am concerned it is slipping away for many people.”
A Georgia native and ardent Republican who served as an honorary co-chair of former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler’s campaign, Walker was reportedly encouraged to run for the seat himself by former President Donald Trump, his longtime friend going back to the 1980s.
While Walker is still in the early stages of his campaign, the football hero’s pivot to politics has raised concerns due to his turbulent past, which includes being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and repeatedly threatening his ex-wife’s life, according to the Associated Press. Beyond his violent history, Walker also joined the board of directors of a foundation operated by pro-Trump-attorney-turned-QAnon-celebrity Lin Wood, underscoring the NFL legend’s affiliation with the far-right conspiracy movement.
Wood, who first gained notoriety when he represented Richard Jewell, a security guard falsely accused of planting the bomb in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, has since reinvented himself as a Trump advocate. Along with fellow attorney Sidney Powell, Wood filed lawsuits seeking to undo the 2020 presidential election results in several swing states, which made him a celebrity in the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement.
It is worth noting that Wood and several other pro-Trump lawyers are facing potential discipline for a lawsuit they filed last November that made baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the most recent U.S. presidential election. Despite the controversy surrounding Wood, Walker continues to maintain a relationship with the lawyer.
“Herschel is aware of the many false attacks on me and my mental health by the State Bar of Georgia, the media, and others who do not stand for truth,” Wood wrote on Telegram in February 2021. “Herschel told me that he would stand proudly side by side with me to fight the false accusations against me and work with me to insure honest elections and to defend our Constitution.”