Walker-Warnock debate ‘Race change unlikely’: Georgia professor

Both Georgia Senate candidates can be pleased with their performances during Friday night’s debate, though they failed to land a killer punch that could hurt their opponents’ chances, according to an expert.

Ahead of the first and only debate between GOP nominee Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael Warnock, there were concerns about the Republican’s performance given his tendency to make erratic and unpredictable comments.

Warnock himself downplayed his hopes of performing well against the incumbent, telling reporters in September he was “not that smart” and just hoping to “do my best”.

Aside from one bizarre incident in which he pulled out a badge that he claimed was proof he had previously worked as a law enforcement officer, Walker didn’t seem to falter too much on stage.

Walker-Warnock debate
Georgia Republican Senator candidate Herschel Walker (L) speaks at a campaign event October 11, 2022 in Carrollton, Georgia. Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks to supporters during his campaign tour in front of the Liberty Theater October 8, 2022 in Columbus, Georgia.
Elijah Nouvelage/Megan Varner/Getty Images

Crucially, Warnock also didn’t land any punches that could hurt Walker’s chances in the tight Senate race. Instead, Warnock pointed out that the Republican had a “truth problem” without going into specific details about his rival, other than mentioning that unlike Walker, he “never pretended to be a cop.”

With the debate coming just days before the in-person vote begins in Georgia, Dr. Bernard Tamas, associate professor of political science at Valdosta State University, that the Senate race is “unlikely to change the dynamics,” polls suggest may be forced into a runoff.

“Walker didn’t make any major mistakes, although his speech was often stilted and he sometimes stumbled in small ways,” Tamas said news week.

“He didn’t seem to understand the issues surrounding Georgia’s hospital closures, seemed to forget the term ‘minimum wage,’ and gave a confusing answer about capping insulin costs.

“Nevertheless, none of these failures were catastrophic.”

Tamas added that Warnock’s strategy seemed more cautious, opting to “sporadically” attack the controversies surrounding Walker.

In recent months, Walker has been plagued by a series of scandals surrounding his personal and personal life. These include recent claims that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion in 2009, although he now opposes the procedure.

Walker denied the abortion allegations and said he didn’t know who the woman at the center of the claims was. It later emerged that the woman Walker apparently paid for an abortion in 2009 gave birth to one of his four children — three of whom Walker didn’t publicly admit before his Senate campaign.

Walker’s was also a campaign website that falsely claimed he graduated from the University of Georgia, which he left in his junior year to play professional football, with Walker also falsely claiming that he worked as an FBI agent.

“Walker didn’t collapse, but he didn’t deliver a knockout either, and Warnock didn’t seem to do any further damage to Walker’s struggling campaign,” Tamas said news week.

While Warnock leads in all recent opinion polls, the Democrat has failed to extend his lead over Walker following allegations of paid abortion.

Crucially, the polls show Warnock has not garnered enough support to give him the 50 percent of the vote needed to clearly win November’s election, with Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver appearing to snag some votes.

If no candidate can get more than 50 percent in the next month, the top two will advance to a December 6 runoff. Warnock eventually won the Georgia Senate seat in a runoff victory over Republican Kelly Loeffler in January 2021 and helped hand control of the Senate to Democrats.

https://www.newsweek.com/walker-warnock-debate-georgia-senate-won-1752165 Walker-Warnock debate ‘Race change unlikely’: Georgia professor

Rick Schindler

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