DALTON, Ga. – With six days to go until Georgia’s runoff election, the Senate race in the crucial swing state is ending as it started – with Republican nominee Herschel Walker facing a barrage of questions over his Peach State residency.
But Walker, who’s facing off against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in next Tuesday’s runoff election, insisted in an interview Wednesday with Fox News Digital, “I’m a resident of Georgia.”
“I’m here to fight for Georgia. I’m here to run for office in Georgia,” Walker added as he was interviewed in his campaign bus after a rally at a community center in Dalton, a small city in the northwestern corner of the state.
Walker, a former professional and college football star who won the Heisman Trophy and steered the Georgia Bulldogs to a national championship four decades ago, lived in Texas for 20 years before launching a Senate bid in the summer of 2021 in his native Peach State. His residency was a big question mark ahead of his entry into the race, which came after months of encouragement to run by former President Donald Trump, his longtime friend.
WALKER’S RESIDENCY FRONT AND CENTER IN GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF CLOSING STRETCH
GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker holds a rally on Nov. 30, 2022 in Dalton, Georgia, ahead of the state’s Dec. 6 Senate runoff election.
Thanks to his legendary status among many in Georgia and his immense and favorable name recognition in the Peach State, Walker instantly became the overwhelming front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination and basically ignored a field of lesser-known primary rivals as he easily captured the GOP nomination in May.
Walker was narrowly edged by Warnock in this month’s general election, but since neither candidate topped 50% of the vote, the race headed to a runoff.
Last week Walker’s residency was back in the spotlight, after CNN reported that Walker last year and this year claimed a special $1,500 property tax break in Texas intended for an individual’s primary residence. And CNN spotlighted in a Wednesday report that Walker described himself as living in Texas in comments made during a campaign speech in January.
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Asked by Fox News if the latest reports are damaging to his campaign for the Senate, Walker responded “that doesn’t hurt me at all.”
Walker said, “This tells you how desperate Raphael Warnock is right now… because anyone in Georgia would know Herschel Walker is more Georgia than Raphael Warnock. Anyone in Georgia know that I’m Georgia born, Georgia bred, and when I die, I’ll be Georgia dead. Everyone knows that.”
“If that’s what they have right now to worry about, that tell you right now they’re scared to death,” Walker claimed. “Let voters vote, and we see who’s going to win this.”
Walker, who registered to vote in Atlanta in 2021, has a residence in Georgia that is registered in his wife’s name but not his own.
But with days left until the runoff, Democrats are pouncing on the latest controversy to surround Walker, attempting to make it central to the Senate campaign in the closing stretch.
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“The Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the Georgia Attorney General’s office must immediately investigate whether Herschel Walker lied about being a Georgia resident,” Georgia Democratic Party Chairwoman Rep. Nikema Williams said Monday in a statement.
“Georgians deserve answers, and Walker must be held accountable for his pattern of lies and disturbing conduct. This is yet another reminder that Walker lacks both the competence and character to be our U.S. senator,” Williams argued.
GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker speaks to supporters at a rally in Dalton, Georgia, on Nov. 30, 2022
Earlier this week a complaint was filed with the state Attorney General’s Office asking for an investigation into whether Walker violated Georgia law by claiming the tax exemption, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The U.S. Constitution requires that candidates inhabit the state they will represent. Georgia has about 15 rules that determine residency for candidates and includes that where a candidate claims a homestead exemption, that home will be considered their permanent residence.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, Texas residents are allowed to receive the homestead exemption even if they move away for less than two years – as long as they do not establish permanent residency somewhere else. According to the site, only a homeowner’s principal residence qualifies for the tax break.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo, Jake Karalexis, Aubrie Spady, and Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.