Where’s Walker? After Senate run, Herschel mostly out of sight (2024)

ATLANTA — Herschel Walker might be one of the most recognizable figures in Georgia. He also might be one of the least visible.

The former football star was a household name in Georgia long before he waged a failed bid for the U.S. Senate, and the more than $470 million that was spent during the 2022 campaign rendered him an unavoidable figure.

Now the once-ubiquitous candidate has all but disappeared from the public eye.

Walker has made only a handful of public appearances since his December runoff defeat to Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and the accounts of his chaotic campaign that followed.

He’s hardly posted on social media, and he’s shunned even the friendly conservative media outlets that once lionized his quest for office.

Even his former aides and confidantes say they haven’t kept in touch with the candidate who often talked about his staff and supporters as “family.”

“I’m short on details,” said Salleigh Grubbs, the Cobb County GOP chair who was a key Walker ally.

“I have not heard anything from him or his former campaign,” said Julianne Thompson, a onetime Walker consultant and influential activist.

“I have not spoken with Herschel recently but always wish him the best,” said Republican National Committeewoman Ginger Howard, who served as an important Walker surrogate.

A half-dozen ex-Walker aides told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they’ve lost touch with the candidate.

Walker and his wife, Julie Blanchard, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.


Recruited to run for the Senate in 2021 at Donald Trump’s urging, Walker’s campaign lurched from one crisis to another amid revelations about his history of violent behavior and infidelity, a pattern of lies and exaggerations and a propensity for erratic statements.

Walker was the only statewide Republican candidate in Georgia to lose in last year’s midterm, a defeat enabled by hundreds of thousands of swing voters who cast ballots for other GOP contenders but withheld support for the former football star.

The most concrete hints of Walker’s post-election activity now can be found in public records and on his once-prolific social media account, where frequent posting has given way to occasional shout-outs to fellow athletes and the occasional conservative policy.

“What makes America different is our Constitution and the Bill of Rights within the Constitution,” Walker posted in late March after a mass shooting sparked new calls for gun control. “We must hold this true.”

Campaign finance records show that Walker has spent more than $1.5 million of what’s left in his campaign account to boost several of his favorite charities and political allies.

One of the largest was a $250,000 contribution to the Horatio Alger Association, which bestowed him with one of its awards last year. This year, the foundation listed Walker and his wife as “eagle flight” sponsors for their largesse.

His attendance at the Alger awards banquet earlier this year was one of his few public appearances since his defeat, and several attendees snapped selfies of the former candidate at the Washington ceremony.

Meanwhile, recent tax filings indicate that Walker no longer considers his suburban Dallas estate his primary residence — a source of contention during the campaign as voters questioned whether he lived in Texas while running for a Georgia office.

The documents now show he lists an Atlanta home owned by Blanchard as his primary residence and will no longer receive a homestead exemption for the Texas property. Officials say that paperwork was completed in late November, shortly before his runoff loss.

Even with the retreat from the spotlight, Walker’s sky-high name recognition and enviable fundraising ability could give him an opening to mount another bid in 2026, when Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is on the ballot.

But he surely wouldn’t have the same glide path to the nomination he enjoyed last year, when many of the party’s most formidable candidates stepped aside. Gov. Brian Kemp, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and ex-U.S. Rep. Doug Collins are among the potential GOP candidates in the next go-round.

Stephen Lawson ran the pro-Walker 34N22 super PAC that spent about $9 million promoting the Republican’s campaign, including gas and grocery giveaways intended to tie Warnock to rising inflation. He’s among many state Republicans who say others are ready to step up.

“I think it goes without saying that Georgia will always hold a special, special place for Herschel Walker. But in so many ways, the game in this state has changed,” Lawson said.

“It’s a battleground centered around a competition of ideas, of personal connection, and clearly articulating what you stand for and why,” Lawson said. “That’s the playbook for winning statewide — and I’m not sure it’s going to change anytime soon.”

Where’s Walker? After Senate run, Herschel mostly out of sight (2024)


What happened to Herschel Walker after the election? ›

After the race, Walker eventually reenrolled at the University of Georgia to finish his undergraduate degree — the same school where he won a Heisman Trophy as a junior decades ago. When reached by phone, Walker denied his seven-figure bank balance of unspent funds in his campaign account.

Did Herschel Walker run for the Senate? ›

Herschel Walker (Republican Party) ran for election to the U.S. Senate to represent Georgia.

Why did Herschel Walker not win? ›

Democrats, as well as his Republican opponents in the earlier primary, hammered away at his documented past mental health issues, allegations of domestic violence (some of which Walker has acknowledged, pointing to his mental health as a factor in his actions), and claims – which Walker has denied – that he had urged ...

Did Herschel Walker graduate from the University of Georgia? ›

The fact that he never earned a degree later became a campaign issue during his race for the Senate, in large part due to attempts by Walker and his campaign to claim that he had graduated.

Who is the former NFL player running for Senate? ›

Herschel Junior Walker (born March 3, 1962) is an American former football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons. He was also the Republican nominee in the 2022 United States Senate election in Georgia. Augusta, Georgia, U.S.

Was Herschel Walker a running back? ›

Biography. Herschel Walker is best known for his football exploits. He starred as a running back at the University of Georgia, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1982. Walker would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Why isn't Herschel Walker in the NFL Hall of Fame? ›

Walker was a great athlete and put up great stats, but he only made two Pro Bowls throughout his NFL career. The most significant moment of Walker's career was a part of the trade that started the Cowboys dynasty. The other problem with Herschel Walker is that he spent the first three years of his career in the USFL.

What did Herschel Walker get traded for? ›

He was instead sent to the San Diego Chargers, with a fifth-round pick going to the Vikings via Dallas. Walker headed to the Twin Cities, along with four late-round draft picks. In return, Dallas received three draft picks, including a first- and second-rounder, and four players.

Who is Herschel Walker's son? ›

Did Herschel Walker ever win a Super Bowl ring? ›

Herschel Walker's NFL career

He didn't win any major awards or a Super Bowl. But that shouldn't distract from the fact that the running back did have a solid career. He amassed over 8,000 rushing yards in his 13-year career and scored 61 touchdowns. He even recorded nearly 5,000 receiving yards.

Did Herschel Walker lose his bid? ›

Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker closed the year — after his November general election and December runoff — with more than $5 million in cash on hand, new filings show.

Does Herschel Walker have any NFL records? ›

During his 15-year pro-football career in the USFL and NFL, Walker played for the New Jersey Generals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants, setting the current single-season pro-football rushing record of 2,411 yards, leading the NFL in rushing, gaining more total yards than ...

How many years did Herschel Walker play at Georgia? ›

Herschel Walker played for the University of Georgia Bulldogs from 1980 to 1982, before beginning his professional career. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1982. Courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Why did Herschel Walker go to USFL? ›

However, he left school early to join the USFL, something the NFL didn't allow. Nonetheless, Walker's decision to join the Spring Football League was due to the money he was offered. According to reports, the running back earned between $3.9 million and $5 million on his three-year deal with the Generals.

Who is the senator for Atlanta GA? ›

Thomas Jonathan Ossoff (/ˈɒsɒf/ OSS-off; born February 16, 1987) is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from Georgia since 2021. A member of the Democratic Party, Ossoff was previously a documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist. Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

What teams did Herschel Walker play for? ›

After playing for the University of Georgia from 1980 to 1982, Walker played professional football for the New Jersey Generals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. Courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Did Herschel Walker win a Super Bowl? ›

Herschel Walker's NFL career

He didn't win any major awards or a Super Bowl. But that shouldn't distract from the fact that the running back did have a solid career. He amassed over 8,000 rushing yards in his 13-year career and scored 61 touchdowns. He even recorded nearly 5,000 receiving yards.

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