How Republicans Cast Aside Concerns and Learned to Love Herschel Walker

From the second two runoff losses in Georgia price Republicans their Senate majority in January 2021, the state was on the heart of Mr. McConnell’s plan to wrest again management in 2022. Even earlier than Senator David Perdue of Georgia had publicly conceded defeat, Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican Chief, requested him to contemplate working once more this 12 months, in line with an individual briefed on the dialog.

However Mr. Perdue didn’t entertain the concept for lengthy. In February, he flew to Florida for a go to and a spherical of golf with Mr. Trump. Inside days, Mr. Perdue introduced he wouldn’t be working and shortly after Mr. Trump publicly urged in a press release, “Run Herschel, run!”

Mr. McConnell didn’t take no for a solution.

Over the summer time, information tales started to disclose new particulars about accusations that Mr. Walker repeatedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of economic success and alarmed enterprise associates with unpredictable habits. (Notably, Mr. McConnell’s longtime political adviser, Josh Holmes, shared on Twitter one Related Press article, calling it “about as complete a takedown as I’ve ever learn. My lord.”)

Days earlier, Mr. McConnell met with Mr. Perdue on the Capitol, checking if the previous senator’s resolution to not run was nonetheless in impact. It was. Mr. Walker formally entered the race in August, and the 2 males have been quickly talking ceaselessly. Mr. McConnell grew extra comfy as Mr. Walker was solicitous of his recommendation, in line with two individuals briefed on the calls. Inside two months, he had formally endorsed Mr. Walker.

In embracing Mr. Walker, Mr. McConnell accepted a candidate who, from the beginning, was certain to make the race in regards to the Republican nominee as an alternative of the Democratic one — anathema to his most popular technique. By the spring of 2022, Mr. McConnell was publicly defending Mr. Walker’s tumultuous previous.

“Virtually each candidate has had troubled intervals,” Mr. McConnell stated in an April interview with Axios, when requested about his ex-wife’s allegations of violence. He lower off additional questions: “I believe Walker is totally electable.”

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