Herschel Walker, former NFL star turned Republican nominee for Georgia senator, has not spoken to reporters on the campaign trail in nearly two months, according to reporting from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While he has granted interview requests to news agencies that frequently platform right-wing talking points, Walker has refused to speak with media at public events in his campaign to win the runoff election contest against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) — a move that is unusual, as “earned media” is considered a vital part of any political campaign.
According to the Atlanta-based newspaper, Walker has not answered any questions from reporters since the start of October. That trend has continued up to the general election contest earlier this month and through the end of November.
Walker continued to evade reporters’ questions this week. On Monday, a Journal-Constitution reporter asked Walker about former President Donald Trump’s meeting with white nationalist and holocaust denier Nick Fuentes — a relevant question, given that Walker has been endorsed by Trump. Republicans in the state, including Gov. Brian Kemp, have condemned Trump’s action.
Walker waved rather than respond to the reporter’s question, however.
The Republican candidate for Georgia senator has had a contentious relationship with media. In August, for example, he belittled reporters for asking what he planned to do if he won the race against Warnock.
“You’re playing games,” Walker said when asked what policies he might pursue as senator by Atlanta’s NBC affiliate station 11Alive.
Walker’s refusal to respond to questions from news media appears to be hurting him in the polls. According to a poll commissioned by AARP in the state earlier this month, Warnock leads Walker by about 4 points in the head to head contest.
On Monday, around 301,500 Georgia residents voted early at polling places across the state, setting a single-day state record for in-person early voting in Georgia.
“Turnout so far is blowing doors … This is outpacing the turnout from the last day of early voting in the General Election,” interim Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Sterling tweeted on Monday.
High early voting numbers are likely a good sign for Warnock — typically, Democratic-leaning voters tend to participate in early voting more than Republican-leaning voters.