The Herschel Walker Political Mess Fully Explained

Trigger warning: The following article includes language regarding sexual assault.

Though usually not as eye-catching as presidential elections, midterm campaigns are turning heads across the country on both sides of the political aisle. Experts attribute the extra attention paid to the 2022 midterms to the plethora of controversial issues that are on voters' minds — abortion rights, voting measures, inflation, and the ongoing war in Ukraine at the hands of Russia are just some of the topics floating around the political ether. And, according to The Washington Post, this year's Senate race could influence the country's policies for decades to come.

In Georgia, Senate candidate and former professional football player Herschel Walker has had Twitter in a series of uproars throughout his campaign, but previous comments have been overshadowed by bombshell allegations against the GOP candidate. Until last week, Walker was the Republican party's best hope for beating out Democrat incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock, who won his seat alongside Jon Ossoff in a historic election in the Peach State. But what started as a single tabloid rumor has spiraled into a series of surprising scandals that the Walker campaign is now attempting to stomp out before election day in November.

Woman claims pro-life Herschel Walker paid her to get an abortion

Senate candidate Herschel Walker is running on an anti-abortion stance in Georgia's midterms this year, calling for a "no exception" rule for any and all abortions, including in instances of rape, incest, and medical issues threatening the mother's life. But The Daily Beast reported that Herschel may not have practiced what he has preached, publishing a story about his former girlfriend who is claiming that the Republican Senate hopeful paid her to have an abortion in 2009. The unidentified woman provided "get-well" cards that she alleges Herschel gave her following the procedure.

Though the claim caught the media's eye, there was a chance that voters would forget about the allegation by the time they went to the polls. However, Herschel's own son and popular conservative social media star, Christian Walker, bashed the candidate online after the story began circulating.

"I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us," Christian wrote on Twitter. "You're not a 'family man' when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over [six] times in [six] months running from your violence." In addition to his written statement, Christian uploaded videos slamming his father's actions.

Herschel Walker drops in polls amid abortion claims

It didn't take long for the backlash to manifest in lower poll numbers for Herschel Walker. Polling website FiveThirtyEight shows an almost four point difference between Walker and incumbent, Senator Raphael Warnock, as of October 5. Yet another poll conducted by SurveyUSA found that among likely voters, Warnock took charge with a 12% lead, a devastating blow to the Walker campaign.  

As he lost his son's public support, Walker has also had to fend off other media outlets reporting on the allegations that he is not as anti-abortion as he claims to be.

In an interview with The New York Times, the woman who claimed Walker urged her to have an abortion in 2009 said that the aspiring politician asked her to have another abortion in 2011. When she refused, the two apparently ended their relationship. Her son — fathered by Walker — is now 10 years old, but has had little contact with his father throughout his life. 

"As a father, he's done nothing. He does exactly what the courts say, and that's it," the woman told The New York Times, telling her story under the guise of anonymity to protect her son. "He has to be held responsible, just like the rest of us. And if you're going to run for office, you need to own your life."

Herschel Walker claims he knew nothing about girlfriend's abortion

Further reporting paints a complicated picture for Herschel Walker, his family, and his campaign. NBC News obtained text messages between the woman and Herschel's wife, Julie Walker, who apparently has acted as a mediator between the two.

"Did you know Herschel paid for my abortion the first time? Or that he told me it wasn't the 'right time' to have [their child]?" the woman asked in a text message. "This message makes me incredibly sad. You know I have continually tried to bridge a better relationship between you and Herschel putting [the child] first," Julie responded.

In an interview with NBC News, Herschel claimed to know nothing about the woman's abortion until she told reporters. "The first I knew about any of this was when some reporter asked me about an abortion. And I'm like, 'No, that's a lie.' And then I was asked if I paid for an abortion, and I said 'No.' I did not pay for an abortion," the candidate told NBC News. "I'm not saying she did or didn't have one [an abortion]. I'm saying I don't know anything about that. I don't know."

Following the bombshell allegations, the Georgia political hopeful has fired his political director, suspecting that someone within his team has been leaking information to the media, according to Fox News.