Walker fires latest round in debate war of words with Warnock in Georgia Senate showdown

FIRST ON FOX: Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker is urging Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia not to “be scared” and accept a debate that Walker has agreed to attend, in the latest verbal fireworks between the two candidates over debates in their crucial battleground state showdown. Walker announced on Tuesday night in an interview on Fox News’ “Hannity” that he’s agreed to take part in an Oct. 14 debate in Savannah, Georgia in front of a live audience. The debate, proposed by Nexstar Media Group, would be televised on Fox 5 Atlanta and other local TV stations across Georgia and in neighboring states. “Senator Warnock. Nexstar Media Group offered to host a debate for us in Savannah on October 14th in front of the people. Don’t Be Scared!,” Walker says in his new video, which was shared first with Fox News on Wednesday. Walker, in the video, charges that Warnock has “rejected previous offers I’ve made, but please consider this one. This debate is more than fair to you… and it’s for the people! It’s in your own backyard. Savannah! You will have hometown advantage. It’s being hosted by a respected third-party media group with multiple outlets in Georgia. It will be aired statewide on broadcast television. In prime time. So everybody will get a chance to watch it.” FIRST ON FOX: WALKER SAYS HE CAN ‘TAKE THE HITS’ FROM WARNOCK AND DEMOCRATS  Warnock had previously committed to attending an Oct. 16 debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, as well as two others later in October that are scheduled to be held in Macon and Savannah. And Warnock’s campaign last week launched an ad criticizing Walker for not agreeing to take part in those three debates. WHAT THE LATEST FOX NEWS POLL IN GEORGIA SHOWS “Herschel Walker likes to talk tough,” the narrator in the Warnock ad emphasized. The spot then uses a clip of Walker from May saying “Sen. Warnock. When he’s ready to debate, he calls the time, he makes the place. I’m ready to go.” The narrator then charged that Walker “still refuses to agree to any debates” and accused Walker of “dodging” debates. Walker responded on Tuesday, saying in a video that “I am not going to obey the demands of the elite press and the liberal establishment to stand in an empty room for a debate that’s supposed to be about the people.” Walker, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped steer the University of Georgia to a college football national championship four decades ago, jumped into the GOP race to face off against Warnock last summer after months of support and encouragement to run for the Senate by former President Donald Trump, his longtime friend.  WARNOCK AIMS TO MAKE WALKER HIS OWN WORST ENEMY Thanks to his legendary status among many in Georgia and his immense, favorable, name recognition in the Peach State, Walker instantly became the overwhelming front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination and basically ignored the field of lesser-known primary rivals, declining to take part in debates as he focused his campaign on Warnock.  Walker ended up trouncing his rivals in the May primary. But Republican strategists remain concerned that Walker is unprepared for the incoming fire that he’s now receiving during the general election campaign. Walker has taken fire from the Warnock campaign and allied Democratic groups over what they call his “bizarre or false statements.” And he’s also been targeted over numerous reports that he overinflated the success of his businesses and academic record and has been playing defense regarding a number of personal controversies — from allegations of past abuse and threats against his first wife to acknowledging children he fathered out of wedlock that he hadn’t previously publicly mentioned despite for decades criticizing absent fathers. Republicans see Warnock — the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, and who defeated GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler by a razor-thin margin to capture the seat a year and a half ago — as very vulnerable as he runs for re-election to a full six-year term. But Warnock has dramatically out raised Walker to date and holds a mid-single digit edge over his GOP challenger in the latest public opinion surveys, including a four-point advantage in a Fox News poll released last week. The showdown is one of a handful of races in battleground states that will determine if the GOP wins back the majority in the chamber in November’s midterms.
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