Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged retired pro-football running back Herschel Walker to run for the U.S. Senate next year in Georgia.
Walker, 59, was born in the Peach State and played college football at the University of Georgia. He would be an instant favorite for the Republican nomination.
Trump said in an emailed statement from his Save America PAC: “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia? He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL. He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!”
Walker, an avid Trump supporter during his presidency, would face Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won a special election in January to fill out the remainder of retired GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson’s six-year term.
Walker would bring name recognition to the contest and could boost GOP support among black voters, who make up almost a third of the electorate in Georgia.
Walker is the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and played in the old USFL and NFL over 15 years, first with the USFL New Jersey Generals, owned by Trump, and later in the NFL for the Vikings, Eagles and Giants.
Warnock formerly worked as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former church of Martin Luther King Jr. He won a narrow runoff race against appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Warnock won despite blistering news coverage of his political sermons and his 2002 arrest for interfering with a police investigation of child abuse at a church-run summer camp near Baltimore, Maryland. Loeffler, who was the richest member of Congress, faced her own negative headlines regarding stock sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though an FBI investigation cleared her of wrongdoing.
Former Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, who lost to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in a January runoff, has ruled out running against Warnock in 2022. Loeffler has not decided on whether to seek a rematch.