Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock in national spotlight for highly anticipated debate
Savannah – Senate hopefuls Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker faced off Friday night in their first and only scheduled debate before the election, addressing a wide range of topics crucial to the state’s voters.
Both of the candidates pledged in opening statements that they would be strong advocates for Georgia in Washington. Warnock stated that he was raised in public housing just a few blocks from the debate venue. He told viewers that only in America is his story possible. The candidates discussed many critical issues to the state, including abortion, election integrity, and the economy. Throughout the debate, Walker repeatedly tried to link Warnock to President Biden, telling voters that Warnock has voted 96% of the time with the president.
Warnock declined to say whether he would back Mr. Biden if he ran for office again in 2024, telling voters, “I have not thought for a minute about who should run.”
Walker said that he would back former President Donald Trump if he ran again. He stated that Trump is his “friend” as well as “I won’t let my allies go.” Both candidates, however, acknowledged that Mr. Biden won the 2020 election, and both pledged to respect the results of Georgia’s race.
Warnock also criticised Walker for having a problem with truth and cited reports that Walker had claimed to have been a member of law enforcement. Walker appeared to show a badge and said he had worked with many police officers. A moderator then chastised Walker for bringing what she called “a prop.” “
“It is not a prop. This is real,” Walker replied.
Abortion is getting more attention due to a report by The Daily Beast claiming that Walker, an abortion access advocate, paid for a woman to have an abortion. Later, the news outlet reported that the woman was the mother of one Walker’s children. Walker has repeatedly denied the allegation. CBS News has not confirmed that the Daily Beast reported.
Walker stated Friday night that the allegation was a “lie”, telling voters that “I’m Christian, I believe life.”
Walker maintained his previous stance on abortion in an interview with ABC News this week. However, he denied Friday that this was the case. He said in the debate that he supports the Georgia “heartbeat” bill, which is the 2019 abortion law that went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, ending the federal right to an abortion.
” I say that I support the heartbeat law,” Walker stated Friday. “I support the Georgia heartbeat bill, because it’s the bill of people from Gov. Kemp. I also said that it has exceptions. I stated that I am a Christian, but that I also represent the Georgian people. I will stand with Georgians for what they stand for.
Georgia law allows for exceptions for incest and rape if a report is filed. If the mother’s life or the viability of the fetus is in danger, there is an exception.
Walker completed a candidate survey earlier this year for the Georgia Life Alliance. He indicated that he supports an abortion ban without any exceptions for rape or incest and the health of the mother.
“There is no exception in my head,” Walker said to reporters at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Macon, Georgia. He added, “Like what I say, I believe that life is worth living.” I believe in the value of life. “
Supporters of each candidate spoke to CBS News ahead of the debate and said that they would tune in. Some residents of Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville said they were excited to see the University of Georgia football legend take the stage.
“I’m planning to watch everything I get my fingers on because I like to be well-informed on both sides,” said Robert Colson, a Walker supporter. “If I can find the truth out of a candidate that will impress me, that will be great. “
Tammie Jenkins, a Savannah native who attended high school with Warnock said that she hoped that the debate would remain focused on the issues.
“He was always intelligent,” Jenkins said about Warnock. She supported him in 2020 but is keeping an open mind. “I want to hear and see everyone else’s opinions. “
Many of the voters CBS News spoke to were with Jenkins — they wanted to hear about issues they care about, like the economy.
” “All the backslashing doesn’t really matter, it mostly comes down to what you will do if you get in the Senate seat,” said Jennifer Jordan. She worries about the economy, rising food and gas prices, and the future of the country.
Most polls have the pair virtually tied, and the CBS News Battleground Tracker has Georgia as a “toss up” state, with just 25 days until Election Day. Republicans nationwide are keeping their eyes on the Peach State as they try to work to take back control of the Senate, currently split 50-50, but under Democratic control because Vice President Kamala Harris breaks any tie.
Early voter registration opens Monday. Traditionally, Democrats do better in early elections. Heavy turnout could indicate that Warnock is ahead, while Walker could benefit from a lighter turnout.
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