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Herschel Walker’s wife had an ‘obsessive focus’ on her husband winning over more black voters and felt he should have received up to 50% of the black vote: report

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Herschel Walker, then a Republican Senate candidate from Georgia, speaks during a campaign stop at the Governors Gun Club in Kennesaw, Georgia on December 5, 2022. His wife, Julie Blanchard Walker, watches from behind.AP Photo/Ben Gray

  • Herschel Walker and his wife wanted to woo black voters in the Georgia Senate race, per Politico.

  • Julie Blanchard Walker said Walker should have had strong black support, according to the report.

  • A person close to the campaign told Politico that his idea had turned into an “obsessive goal”.

This year’s Georgia Senate race was unique in that it featured two big-party black candidates — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker — for the first time in state history. .

And throughout the contest, which took place in a year of midterm elections between two high profile candidates with widely differing opinions on virtually every key issue, the importance of the black vote in Georgia remained at the center of concerns.

Black Georgians make up 33% of the state’s population, and in a good turnout year, black voters — the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency — typically make up about 28% to 30% of the total electorate.

So with Walker’s candidacy, many Republicans believed that Walker’s candidacy would help them make inroads among black voters in the state because he had a built-in 1980s name identification as a star football player. at the University of Georgia before heading to the NFL. .

Throughout the GOP Senate campaign, Walker and his wife — Julie Blanchard Walker — wanted to visit Democratic-leaning parts of the state to woo black voters, but staffers instead wanted the Republican to focus on increasing turnout among grassroots voters — a strategy they later emphasized after Walker was forced into a runoff in December without GOP Gov. Brian Kemp leading the ticket, according to Politico.

Politico described Walker and Blanchard Walker as not fully capable of directing decision-making for the campaign, as the pair allegedly questioned the strategies put forth by GOP operatives and spent “excessive” periods of time review proposals prior to scheduled campaign stops.

Walker staffers told Politico that Blanchard Walker floated the idea that Walker should have won up to 50% of the black vote in the state – which would have been an unusually high share of the vote for a Republican candidate . A staff member told the outlet that Blanchard Walker had repeatedly said that her husband had to “present him in front of his people, in front of his community”.

“She thought we should get a number of African-American voters that no Republican in the history of modern politics ever got,” an individual close to the campaign told Politico. “And it became an obsessive concern.”

The biggest complication in the Walkers’ efforts to engage with black voters? Warnock, the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, had deep-rooted ties to the black religious community and to black voters in general — and their support was not going to be easily transferable.

The senator’s 2021 runoff victory was fueled by strong turnout from black voters, including in metro Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Savannah and rural parts of the state where Democrats had previously been reluctant to vote. vote. And he campaigned intensively in those areas throughout the campaign, while Walker’s overall campaign strategy targeted conservatives and the state’s rural evangelical community.

In last month’s general election, when Warnock edged Walker 49.4% to 48.5% statewide, the incumbent senator won 90% of black votes, compared to Walker’s 8%, according to a poll by CNN release.

Walker sought to make inroads among the electorate in Atlanta’s diverse suburbs during the runoff campaign, but by the time early voting began in November, Warnock had already locked in support from most of those voters — and the senator’s victory on Tuesday revealed the extent of his gains across the state from last month’s contest.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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