Former NFL player and Trump ally, Herschel Walker, kicked off a campaign for U.S. Senate in Georgia on Wednesday, gearing up for an intense journey in the key swing state, according to multiple reports.
"Our country is at a crossroads, and I can't sit on the sidelines anymore," Walker said in a statement, CNN reported. "In the United States Senate, I will stand up for conservative values and get our country moving in the right direction. It is time to have leaders in Washington who will fight to protect the American Dream for everybody."
For months, speculation circulated about Walker initiating a Senate campaign. In June, former President Donald Trump alluded to a possible Republican primary on Walker’s behalf.
"He told me he's going to, and I think he will," Trump said on the conservative talk radio Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, NPR reported. "He's a great guy. He's a patriot. And he's a very loyal person, he's a very strong person. They love him in Georgia, I'll tell you."
Trump allies have also advocated for the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, noting that he might be the best chance in an effort to unseat Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, one of three Black senators and the senior pastor at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
"Herschel Walker understands the predicament our country is now in and the importance of those who love this country to step forward and do what it takes to save it," Georgia lawyer and former U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg in the Trump administration, Randy Evans, said.
Despite having the support of Trump and other GOP members, a recent report from the Associated Press revealed a turbulent past, in which the 59-year-old repeatedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of financial success with his company, Renaissance Man Food Services and alarmed business associates with unpredictable behavior. Earlier this month, Walker's current wife became the subject of a voter fraud investigation after voting in a Georgia race while residing in Texas, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Walker “certainly could bring a lot of things to the table,” Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a recent interview, Associated Press reported. “But as others have mentioned, there’s also a lot of questions out there.”
The Georgia native’s campaign also mentioned that he "dedicated his life to helping others with similar struggles" to his dissociative identity disorder, where he wrote about his experience with the disorder in a 2008 book and visited "thousands of troops and patients struggling with mental health."
"America is the greatest country in the world, but too many politicians in Washington are afraid to say that," Walker said. "Where else could a poor kid from a small town in Georgia become valedictorian of his high school, earn the Heisman Trophy, play professional football, represent the United States in the Olympics, and become CEO of multiple companies? I have lived the American Dream, but I am concerned it is slipping away for many people."
While some are considering Walker’s campaign as a wildcard, Democratic stakeholders have also spoken out about what the future could hold in the event that Walker is elected.
"Walker's entrance into Georgia's chaotic GOP Senate primary is the nightmare scenario that Republicans have spent the entire cycle trying to avoid," Georgia Democratic party spokesman Dan Gottlieb said. "By the end of this long, divisive, and expensive intra-party fight, it'll be clear that none of these candidates are focused on the issues that matter most to Georgians."