Things are not looking too rosy for Herschel Walker in the final days of his campaign. A memo from his campaign manager was obtained by NBC News and it shows that donations have dried up. Walker is out of cash. But that’s not all. The passion in this race is on the side of the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are openly disgusted with Warnock.
“Simply put, we’re being outspent 3 to 1 by Warnock, and we’re being outspent nearly 2 to 1 by outside groups. We need help,” Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise wrote in the memo sent to donors Thursday, which was obtained by NBC News ahead of Tuesday’s runoff election.
The memo calculates that Warnock and the Democratic groups backing him have spent and committed a combined $92 million since the November election, compared with $45 million that Walker and his Republican allies have ponied up.
The problem Walker faces is that in the last days of the election, the Democrats have mounted an all out offense. Walker has nothing by way of defense. His entire campaign was built on the premise that he was going to save the senate for the Republicans. Once Catherine Cortez Masto won in Nevada, that took that off the table and Walker can offer no reason for people to vote for him.
Plus, other Republicans can’t stand him, most notably the Lt. Governor of Georgia, Geoff Duncan. Democrats are leading in early voting and unless Walker can pull a rabbit out of a hat and motivate Republicans to come out en masse, he is likely going to lose.
The closeness of the race is emphasized in Paradise’s memo, which calls the contest “winnable” — but only if Republicans, who outnumber Democrats in the state, turn out in force.
So far, however, the opposite is happening. Democrats are dominating early voting, and more Republicans are publicly voicing their doubts about Walker, who has been savaged by news articles and Democratic ads that raise questions about his character, honesty and fitness for office.
Republican former lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan, an anti-Trump Republican, said he waited in line for an hour to get into the early voting polling station but ultimately didn’t vote because “the Republican Party deserves better than Herschel Walker.”
John Cowan, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran in 2020 against Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, described the GOP mood as “honestly not good” in a text message.
“Not a lot of energy here for Walker,” Cowan said, adding: “Current turnout favors Democrats. We’ll see what next Tuesday looks like.”
Do not forget, Walker got 203,000 fewer votes than Brian Kemp and he got 37,675 fewer votes than Warnock. And who knows how many of the votes that he did get were Republicans voting the straight party line? They were in the booth voting for Kemp and so Walker rode Kemp’s coattails. That isn’t the case this time. Walker’s out there by himself.
“Core Republican voters just can’t get fired up about Walker, and they came out in the general because they liked Kemp or their congressional candidates. But Walker wasn’t the reason, and they’re not coming out for Walker,” Bonier said.
“The other possibility is they’re waiting for Election Day,” he added. “But for that to add up, to be a plausible explanation, you would have to explain why more are waiting around for Election Day now than compared to this point in the general election in November.”
Occam’s Razor would dictate that nobody is waiting for anything, that they’ve lost interest.
Hope springs eternal. The New York Times ran an analysis suggesting that the two Democrats who won the runoffs last year, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, were an anomaly and that Georgia is a deep red state. There’s a good argument to be made for that. But it doesn’t trump the argument that Walker has nothing to offer the Republicans other than an R behind his name. Maybe that will be enough. It frequently is, especially in the South. But in this case, where so many Republicans disparage Walker and the Democrats are on fire, I think Warnock might blow this one out of the water.